Despite the immense failures of the Democratic Party to live up to its stated progressive ideals, there are differences between the two major parties. Nowhere is that difference more obvious in recent days than in the decision by Donald Trump to reinstate the Keystone XL and Dakota Access (DAPL) pipeline projects. Tens of thousands of environmental, indigenous and other activists slogged for months, even years, to push President Obama to stop the climate-destroying projects. They marched, locked themselves to each other and to heavy equipment, faced arrests and felony charges, were hit by tear gas and rubber bullets, and even bitten by dogs. But they prevailed over Obama. With the stroke of a pen, Trump signed memorandums Tuesday to undo the results of those sacrifices and struggles, even though he knows he has no popular mandate. And he did it on day five of his administration.
Despite the dismay felt by many Americans, Kandi Mossett, the Native Energy and Climate Campaign organizer with Indigenous Rising, a project of the Indigenous Environmental Network, expressed optimism in an interview for “Rising Up With Sonali.” Of the 2015 Keystone victory, she said, “We won it once and we’ll win it again, even in a Trump administration.” Just over a year before last November’s election, Obama bowed to public pressure in the face of congressional support for the project and killed it. Less than two months ago, Obama took a similar stand on the DAPL. “Even though we celebrated for one day on December 4th,” said Mossett, referring to the day of Obama’s action, “we knew that this was coming in a Trump presidency, and so we were prepared.”