I was in Iowa this past weekend, attending Midyear Meeting of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) at my home (Quaker) meeting, Bear Creek, north of Earlham. First Day morning Russ Leckband handed me this sign, which is from the concert Willie Nelson and Neal Young gave in Nebraska last year to raise money to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.
I don’t know why that made me so happy. I think partly because the Keystone Resistance has been a long, hard struggle, and it felt nice to be able to celebrate the work. It also feels good to feel the support of your faith community.
It also brought home once again how important the arts are in these struggles. The Neil Young/Willie Nelson concert is one example. Additionally, this sign resulted in a chance for me to talk with Scattergood Friends School students who saw it, and engaged me in a conversation about pipelines and civil disobedience. They are aware of Iowa’s Bakkan pipeline proposal and Ed Fallon’s walk related to that. Bakkan Pipeline
It’s also amazing that three years after what was assumed to be an almost automatic approval of the Keystone Pipeline, it is still stalled. President Obama echoed the charge from Franklin Roosevelt “make me do it”, referring to the need for public support for the policies we want. This long Keystone Pledge of Resistance campaign has been an effort to do that. We know the President has been aware of the Pledge since the early days.
The other priceless benefit of the Pledge of Resistance is the national network of activists trained to train others in the practice of, and implementation of nonviolent civil disobedience for social change. In Indianapolis, the Keystone Pledge of Resistance Action Leaders have been involved in all kinds of actions over the past couple of years, not just limited to environmental concerns. We have been involved with issues such as homelessness in Indianapolis. Every one of us has been very involved in the Indiana Moral Mondays movement. We were recently able to use what we learned in the Pledge of Resistance to provide training in nonviolent civil disobedience for Indiana Moral Mondays.