“Common Dreams” reported that #Hillary Clinton broke her silence on Dakota Access through director of coalitions press “Xochitl Hinojosa” in an email response to water protectors. The evasive response enraged supporters of the human rights of indigenous water protectors. Many critics assert that the statement says “nothing.” I disagree. One key statement in the email response says a lot. The Clinton staffer says that the water protectors “need to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.” That says it all.
The Democratic Primary
Vermont Senator #Bernie Sanders was overwhelmingly favored in the Democratic Primary by indigenous voters.
During debates Sanders rightly lambasted Clinton for her support of the fossil fuel industry, such as her role in the global expansion of the environmentally destructive industrial practice of fracking. Having won the primary under circumstances many Sanders supporters still find at best suspect, Clinton quickly began taking on many of Sanders's positions to win over his constituents. But does she really mean it? What does she mean exactly by “serving the broadest public interest?”
Serving the public interest, or the corporate interest?
Allegedly lurking in the WikiLeaks files on Clinton is an alleged statement from Clinton to fossil fuel constituents saying that those of us who care about the environment should, “Get a life.” If true, then we know exactly what Clinton means by purporting to serve the public interest.
Many non-indigenous opponents of Dakota Access, many of them conservative, have rightly condemned the project as not falling under the constitutionality of the US Constitution's 5th amendment “takings clause” where private property may be condemned with just compensation to the land owner. The takings clause is clear, the project must be for a “public use.” A privately owned oil pipeline does not constitute a public use. Serving the broadest public interest here in fact means serving the narrow corporate interest.
Dakota Access is against the public interest
A massive oil pipeline that threatens the fresh water supply of 10 million North Americans and all of humanity through Climate Change absolutely does not serve the broadest public interest. It serves the interest of the wealthy elite to whom Clinton is still a political puppet, a corporate vassal if you will. None of this condemnation of Clinton should be taken as support for the megalomaniac #Donald Trump. The only candidate still in the running that is on the right side of history and is in fact looking out for the broadest public interest is the Green Party's Jill Stein.
Fortunately, if she reaches 5% of the vote she may at least break the power of the fundamentally undemocratic US two party system. In the mean time, we are stuck with the choice between the corporate shill and the racist orange haired monster.
Civil rights violations do not serve the public interest
Many will bite the bullet and vote Clinton to avoid the unnatural disaster that Trump embodies. But that does not mean we should not hold her feet to the fire this election. Clinton will only serve the broadest public interest if we the public relentlessly pressure her to do so. This is of utmost importance since Obama, her her “hope and change” comrade, by all appearances has effectively checked out. Does he intend to pass the buck so Clinton's popularity can be boosted by looking heroic? Perhaps, but why should we have to wait? While we wait for this political game to be played the civil and human rights of hundreds of people are being egregiously violated. It is an international embarrassment and an indictment of Obama's legacy. How exactly does allowing hundreds of people to be psychologically tortured; bitten by dogs, strip searched, forced to squat naked, thrown into cells naked overnight, thrown into dog kennels, etc. serve the broadest public interest? It doesn't. It threatens what little remains of the civil rights of us all.