Terrorists or Patriots

How does it feel? How does it feel to know that your water has been deliberately and irresponsibly poisoned? How does it feel to know your children are sent to a school where the air is full of contaminates and they are asked to learn to read and write under the threat of a breach in the slurry dam directly behind them?

Concerned citizens who disagree with the abuses of the coal industry and participate in non-violent acts of civil disobedience are usually arrested and charged with -at least- Trespassing (asked to leave) and Conspiracy.

Trespassing? Do you mean the crossing of an invisible line in the sand? Would that include pumping toxins into the groundwater that has nourished communities for generations? Would that include coming to a July 4th celebration and threatening people? Would that include pressuring community members to sell their homes and family property under the threat that mining will continue and their once peaceful existence will now be overwhelmed with dust, blasting, bad water, heavy traffic and the constant grinding of heavy machinery?

Rosa Parks was also “asked to leave”. Her conscience demanded that she remained seated. Rosa Parks was hated by many for her actions. Now she is a national hero. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if she had remained seated in today’s political climate. Would she be deemed a terrorist? Would she be arrested and charged with conspiracy? Conspiracy to do what- follow her conscience? The founding fathers of this country were also branded as outlaws because they dared to challenge the status quo. Their acts of Civil Disobedience were not acts of terrorism, they were acts of conscience. They were actions born of a belief in a more just society- a society worth working for.

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