I was disappointed and dismayed to read the Olympian’s Dec. 9 editorial.
The editors wrote: “The city should consider seeking criminal charges against those who, in the name of environmental protection, thwarted local commerce and left 15 tons of trash in their wake.”
To characterize the protestors as polluters is misleading to the point of absurdity. They may have left trash, but as you note in your editorial, they left their encampment under the threat of violence by 130 armed officers in full riot gear.
As far as “thwarting commerce,” well, that’s not actually a crime. Although it’s telling that the editors of this paper assume it is.
The editorial runs through the usual tired arguments before asking citizens to “distinguish between the protesters’ defiant acts from the serious U.S. movement to take action against climate change” and calling for a carbon tax.
The idea that occupying space is not a “serious” form of protest reflects a generational divide. If young folks aren’t interested in compromise or market-based solutions, it’s because we’ve seen exactly how that plays out.
The city of Olympia and Chief of Police have condemned the Port’s policy. But that’s all. These young protesters were willing to put their bodies on the line to protect our collective future. If they didn’t want to negotiate, it’s because our future is not negotiable.
It cost the city $40,000 to “clean up” the encampment. But we will be paying for our elders’ complacency and hubris for the rest of our lives.