"And now, of course, Obama had to go kill that pipeline deal," said my friend, warming her fingers around the cup of weak, small town restaurant coffee. I looked at her, startled. We had been having a non-political discussion revolving around her life. Suddenly my friend, a woman I have known since our early teens, looked older, the gray just starting in her hair. She had just spoken of her out-of-work husband, a man who had rarely had a hammer out of his hand in the thirty-two years he had been a carpenter. For the first time ever, she had gotten reprimanded at work for too many mistakes in her copy, for not getting everything done in the time constraints given by her boss, even though flexibility had always been afforded her before, even though she covered for the secretary for several days, too. For the first time ever, she was feeling the heat from work.
So her comment about something political took me by surprise. "Huh?" I said.
She went on with her grumbling about the killing of the pipeline project, how it was all because trains that haul fuel are owned by Buffet, who is Obama's friend. How angry she was that when so much unemployment was all around us with new jobs that would deliver our nation a huge paycheck.
'Hold it," I interrupted.
"Should we let some crazy guy shoot a hole in it like that guy did up in Alaska?"
"What?" she shrugged her shoulders. "I never heard about that."
So I told her how some moron was hanging out with his brother and said, "Bet I can shoot a hole in that!" The pressure on the inside of the pipeline sent oil spraying over the land and trees. While the news cameras rolled, the oil company sent people to clean up. But what happened when the cameras were gone? It's so remote that no one would know if the land were ever cleaned for sure.
"Oh," she said. Then after a pause, she continued, "Well, they can make the metal bullet-proof."
"Yeah, but will they?" I asked. With the cost of bullet-proofing the pipeline, I doubt the company will want to put the money into it."
She nodded in agreement.
"And for sure I don't want the beautiful land in Colorado or Nebraska to be covered in the back, goopy oil," I said.
"No, no, not cool," she agreed.
When I related this conversation to The Man who Puts Up With Me, he piped up, "But they could put it underground!"
"And promptly let any holes in the pipeline send oil into the drinking water," I retorted. He had to admit that I was right about that.
It's not an easy project to talk about, no doubt. And when ads are running condemning our President's decision, it might be a great time to remind everyone about realistic sabotage threats. It might be time to consider that there's more at stake than jobs. Yes, we probably do need to run that line somehow. After all, Canada can certainly reroute the pipe and sell their oil to China. We don't want that. But it's imperative we be careful. It's essential we get agreements to keep the area around the line clean, provide the proper security. It's time we think about keeping away terrorists, not just a couple of hard-drinking rabble-rousers. A little more time to think about something this big is not only critical, it's smart.