As early as 2006, activist Tarana Burke used the phrase “Me Too” to empower women who had suffered sexual harassment and/or assault by demonstrating how many women have experienced it. In October of 2017 the hashtag went viral in the wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein. It’s the buddy system writ large. And while it has meant great strides in awareness and policies, we still have the Harasser-in-Chief to deal with.
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How long did this Lakota man prevent this machine from digging for the Dakota Access Pipeline? Probably not that long. But he put his body between it and the land he was trying to save.
For much of my life I thought people who did things like this were crazy. Tree-huggers who protested logging; no-nukers at power plants; freaks who seized administration buildings at colleges. How strongly must you believe something to put yourself in such a position, when you know it will only be temporary? But the point is to be seen and heard and to make people think and act. To the cops and workers around him, this man was a minor inconvenience, but to people who believe that clean water is life, he is a symbol.
What do you care enough about to take action like this? How bad would things have to be for you to defy the authorities and put yourself in harm’s way? I’m pretty craven, all things considered, but we’re getting close to my threshold.