Though the protests in North Dakota against the Dakota Access pipeline have waged for nearly a month, we have heard no response from either presidential candidate. As dozens – and then hundreds – of peaceful water protectors have been attacked and arrested, both campaigns remained silent.
This week, after a bloody clash between law enforcement wearing riot gear and a newly established camp of protecters resulted in the arrest of nearly 200 protesters, Clinton finally deigned the issue politically convenient enough to warrant a response.
Though many were encouraged to see that Clinton had finally spoken out on the issue, her response quickly stopped them in her tracks.
Rather than taking the side of the protesters and asking that Obama halt the pipeline, or calling on law enforcement to stop their violent corralling of the demonstrators, Clinton merely offered empty platitudes and Kumbaya.
On the day after protesters were tased, pelted with rubber bullets, maced, and had their ear drums arrested by a sonic sound machine, the Democratic nominee merely offered her positive wishes.
Clinton’s official statement was in response to a letter written to her by some native peoples which begged Clinton to respond to the ongoing issue.
The statement read:
“We received a letter today from representatives of the tribes protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. From the beginning of this campaign, Secretary Clinton has been clear that she thinks all voices should be heard and all views considered in federal infrastructure projects. Now, all of the parties involved—including the federal government, the pipeline company and contractors, the state of North Dakota, and the tribes—need to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest. As that happens, it’s important that on the ground in North Dakota, everyone respects demonstrators’ rights to protest peacefully, and workers’ rights to do their jobs safely.”
Many were left flabbergasted, thinking ‘that’s it?’ but those people should have known that Clinton is not one to wade into complicated ongoing matters. Unlike Bernie Sanders who has been following and speaking out about the protests from the beginning, Clinton is choosing the safe path by offering this useless response. May history remember.