So the anxious diatribe of news articles and twitter hash tags coming out of and about Grumpy’s home state stomping ground really gets the Grumpy stomach and a brain twisted together. Not even a beer can get them untangled.
Having grown up in North Dakota, Grumpy Pastor learned something early on about the place. It’s a simple rule that nobody talks about, or perhaps even knows or realizes. The rule is this: “White people and native people don’t like each other.”
They don’t. They don’t like each others’ culture, social norms, or history. They don’t value each others’ ways of being, or even the being and existence itself. They don’t know each other. Most whites in North Dakota haven’t stepped foot on a reservation, except to go to a casino. Many natives have a rough time whenever they are off the reservation, whether it is living or visiting.
This is the reason why so much of the news and social media argument about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests of it are so off base. News reporting and Facebook comments care about facts of who is right and who is wrong, and which side is justified. Therein lies the problem. When it’s a matter of the human heart, who is right, who is wrong, and who is justified matters very little.
Now, you’re probably saying, “Grumpy Pastor, but the Dakota Access Pipeline folks followed the legal process completely.” Yes. While that is true, that statement and $6.00 will get you two Grain Belt Premiums at the bar for Monday Night two-for-ones. If you are on the other side of the fence, you’re probably saying, “Grumpy Pastor, the Native Americans have gotten the shaft in history and in this whole ordeal.” Yes. That is true too. But the United States Government holds all of the cards, and the powers that be care about as much about fairness as Grumpy’s mom did when GP was 5 years old… which is not at all, and nothing 5 year-old GP said or did changed mom’s mind. And if you are one of the police officers who sprayed water at protestors in freezing temperatures, or one of the protestors who tossed a Molotov cocktail at the police, Grumpy Pastor feels sorry for you. Inflicting violence upon other human beings means your heart is in a very dark and lonely place.
Mrs. Grumpy Pastor, who is actually the brains of the entire Grumpy operation, upon hearing the very first news report of the protest said, “This is not going to end well.” Mrs. GP earned her chops in North Dakota too and understands all of the subtext there. What is that subtext? Those protestors will protest to their own death… they’re in it to win it at all costs. Law enforcement is in the same boat, and will inflict their winning on anyone to maintain a rule of law. So come January when there is a new President, construction and protesting will both again resume… and it won’t be good.
Grumpy is reminded of the words from that Jesus guy…
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?”
Sometimes giving up and losing is the way to actually win. Losing your life can take up many different ways and forms. Unfortunately, neither side will give anything. And that will be their undoing. The only solution that can fix anything is that of the human heart. When white people and natives actually like each other, these things won’t happen.
Peace, blessings, and good stuff,