Open Letter to the President
Dear Mr. President,
I am aware of your visit to Ingham County Michigan (Lansing) this Friday, February 7th. I am writing you as someone who has spent the last couple weeks in Ingham County supporting three women who were just found guilty for peaceful protest. These three women were found guilty and then immediately incarcerated. They will stay in jail awaiting sentencing in Ingham County.
During the trial it was brought on record that the Ingham County police are under the payroll of the mega corporate conglomerate Enbridge Energy. This is the company Lisa Leggio, Barb Carter, and Vicci Hamlin protested for 6 hours by locking to construction equipment. They face 2-3 years for this protest, which was in response to this foreign company inflicting great suffering to our local communities. It is a common theme in Michigan: Enbridge has condemned property, lied about gag orders, and had 22 large violations in the initial report of the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history alone. The operations of Enbridge are literally so terrible that it feels surreal. You say carbon concern as a reason to stop them, but what of their safety records of these oil companies. Is there not to be any accountability to these corporations ever? This wed (Febuary 5th). I watched them lie to people in St Ignace, I watched local government attempt to silence angry people of all colors, nations, religions and ages. Where does this game end, your a father aern’t you?
Vicci became a great-grandmother on the beginning of trial and has not met her great-grandchild. She has a history of working with abused women, senior citizens, and troubled youth. Lisa is expected to be a grandmother for the first time by the time you speak Friday. During the response of Hurricane Sandy, Lisa logged 623 hours in 6 weeks helping people, and did so again in Oklahoma helping the Absentee Shawnee Tribe. She is expecting a 3 year sentence. Barb Carter is 22 years old and did this because she lives within three miles of a tar sands refinery and her lungs hurt when she leaves her house because of the lack of safety dealing with this toxic substance in urban Detroit. This same toxic substance is now being stored on the Calumet River in Chicago as well.
I myself am a resident of the Kalamazoo and was raised on the river. I write this letter to you to say we have proof Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, and these six mega pipe structures are not an acceptable answer. You argue that if shown unsafe you will not allow it. I am bringing you proof from our river Friday. I have no delusion that I will magically bump into you. I am writing this open letter to thousands of emails and media outlets. You are coming to speak in a county where people are being silenced by the corporate rule of Rick Snyder. Where people I love sit in jail for doing more then you have.
The economy of Michigan is its environment. These three women took action because they are mothers and grandmothers and daughters. Because your administration has been nothing more then words, they took action. While Rick Snyder took action in Michigan, while Fred Upton took action in Michigan, we waited for more then words by your administration, and stopped waiting because you have not take action.
Tar sands extraction has compromised the freedom of people in Ingham County Michigan thorough its landowners and citizens. It has caused the devastation of a river that impacts 300,000 people in Michigan through the lack of safety, something which is never noted. I write this letter to challenge you President Obama, not as a senate elect, not as a MICAT, not as a part of Interoccupy, nor Occupy Kalamazoo.
I write this as someone who loves his family, and who loves Lisa and Vicci and Barb more than freedom. As someone who loves the lives of the children in West Michigan more then I love my own life. These three women embody everything your rhetoric over your campaigns have suggested, however while you proposed words, they proposed actions. While Rick Snyder made lies, they used action to speak truth. As Fred Upton proposes laws to take away the remaining power of the EPA, they fought in the absence of the EPA, DEQ, DNR, and local governments.
I do not believe in you, nor any “leaders” in Washington and I think 350, Sierra Club, and other organizations waste their time concerning themselves with your presidency because you brought apathy not hope. Leaders do not talk with words they speak with action. I often hear the critique that Barack Obama is nothing more then a puppet. I CHALLENGE you to not say, but show us in Michigan you are more then empty words. People in Michigan love this place and their families. I am bringing bitumen tar sand samples and a formation of corexit (something the local government does not acknowledge). These are not brought for intimidation, but to beg you to prove me wrong. Prove to all of us who voted, you did not lie to us, that you are more than words. You asked in your speech for us to make you do your job. I am telling you and your secret service, and the Ingham County police that take money from a foreign company, that I am coming to honor your request. Are you a man of the people or a puppet for corporations?