If you’ve been following news coverage about the pipeline, stop it right now.
Especially if you’re watching national and international news. What do professional journalists know that Facebook doesn’t?
Now that the Army Corps of Engineers has denied permission to cross Lake Oahe, north of Standing Rock, based on foolish environmental concerns and a flawed process, some suggest the protesters had it right all along.
But that runs contrary to every preconceived notion I hold dear.
They’re making it sound like ruthless government powers and oil companies set attack dogs on people, hosed them down in frigid conditions, turned them into tear gas-flavored Popsicles and took batting practice on them with billy clubs.
Some people call them batons, like they’re leading a parade in fringed unitards.
I’ll admit, it does sound less threatening. But is anyone ready for Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney in Spandex? I’m still adjusting to the Darth Vader helmet. Really, fashion has clashed more at the protest site than people.
Thing is, the elitist liberal media is making it sound like our stalwart leaders care more about out-of-state oil billionaires than they do about out-of-state liberal hippies, who have flocked here to bask in our legendary winters. Of course, they’re paid to be here. Everyone says so, so it must be true.
Liberals don’t have convictions. I won’t even bend down to pick up a dollar bill. A ten, maybe. But the out-of-state construction workers and attack dog handlers? They would do this for free. Especially the attack dog handlers.
Were our officials really going to starve the illegal, unlawful protesters out, like Reuters reported? Nonsense, said Gov. George Armstrong Dalrymple, during a news conference to stop the rumor his people started.
Not only are they not going to starve Indians, which would be unprecedented, the governor thought during his final month in office, he could find some time to talk with the tribe. You know, see what’s shaking.
Somebody get the Rolodex. The Capitol is still in lock-down but oozing humanity these days.
Because bad press makes it sound like officials were acting like a bunch of dicks, Morton County created a media division, with a variation of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” starring Sheriff Laney as the Riot Whisperer. Mark Ruffalo was busy.
There Laney is, in a Darth Vader helmet, standing majestically, but modestly, in front of a roll of razor wire, talking smack to hippies. A bit of advice, Paul: Have them video you from a lower angle, so you look more imposing. It will be easier to get the helicopter in the frame. Also, tell your makeup people to go easy on the rouge. For God’s sake, lay off the glitter on your cheeks. If you win an Emmy (or an Oily), make sure to thank me. On camera.
Because Shailene Woodley is still in the Morton County Correctional Institute for Babes, two female deputies got the starring roles in the next video. Good strategy. Jail the competition. Trump’s Amerika.
The deputies recounted a harrowing tale of protesters throwing snowballs. Then protesters made snow angels. And a snowman! Really. Assault with a deadly Frosty. Chilling.
The best video was one of Laney, co-starring Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler, when they got into a dispute at a restaurant because protesters wouldn’t pass the vinaigrette. It went virus.
You know the part where Ziegler stood up — holy crap! — and towered menacingly, while serving and protecting his salad? That’s the angle I’m talking about, Paul. I’m still shaking. This pair of underwear is done for. But I’m against you guys on this one. Vinaigrette has oil in it. I feel all of this could have been avoided by compromising on Blu Cheese.
Another video featured “Aww Shucks” Laney, who avoids the spotlight at all costs, except when his country needs him. In this case, he rescued an upside down flag from a protest camp, with the help of Seal Team Elevendy-five. You just know Obama is going to claim credit for this one, too.
Again, I’m with the hippie protesters. You know what hippies do right?
a. Not a damn thing.
b. Save the whales.
c. Smoke weed.
d. Smoke more weed.
The actual answer is yoga. When you’re doing the pranayama on your head, an upside-down flag is the only way to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Some think I’m picking on Sheriff Laney. I don’t even know the guy, but someday we’ll probably share a laugh over the time he bounced a rubber bullet off my forehead — if I ever go back to cover the protest again.
Let’s call it what it is. Hero worship.
When the protesters finally cease their unAmerican exercise of civil disobedience, Paul will go back to Cass County. He’ll lead his own parade, twirling a baton. Spandex optional.
I’ll go back to my bunker and read Elmore Leonard novels. But we’ll always have Cannon Ball.
© Tony Bender, 2016