Its been my great honor getting to know Tim DeChristopher since his brilliant act of civil disobedience. But it is especially sobering to consider that he could easily end up in prison. I understand, the willingness to suffer years of incarceration is part of the romanticism of civil disobedience. But it this case, it would send a devastating signal to this generation.
One of Tim’s most ardent and more senior supporters chaffed at the decision to raise money to cover the $45,000 bond on the leases exclaiming, “What’s the point of civil disobedience if you’re not willing to go to jail?”
Just the day before, after meeting with the lawyers, Tim quietly corrected me when I used the word ‘jail’. “It’s federal prison” he reminded me. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Tim is your average exceptionally bright, humble and brave guy trying to do the right thing and suddenly faced with years in a federal prison.
Tim is at the mercy of a politically motivated federal prosecutor in a state that – lets get serious – HATES environmentalists and loves Oil & Gas jobs. If you need to be reminded, take a moment to review a few Utahn’s sentiments toward Robert Redford.
“Please know that by stopping the gas and oil development many families and communities will be hurt tremendously.”
“Interesting that all these rich people are so ‘for the environment’ and so out of touch of the rest of the people, their neighbor, brother, sister, other human beings. At what point are they going to get it (probably never) that PEOPLE and their livelihoods are more important.”
“Can you say elitist snobs or environmental hippocrites [sic]?”
Unfortunately, we are not dealing with a simple matter of right and wrong or of justice and law. Tim is facing a complex combination of forces uninterested in the future and welfare of a college student who acted out of frustration by the failure of an entire movement to stop eight years of a devastating and illegal assault on the environment by the Bush administration.
Tim’s generation is looking at a worldwide scientific community telling us its probably too late; that the environment is past the tipping point. Tim’s generation has two choices: become hysterical, or do nothing. We wonder why today’s youth are so apathetic.
Lets send a message to Tim’s generation by doing everything we can to keep him out of ‘prison.’ The alternative will not only destroy Tim’s life, and justify the apathy, but it will also signal an entire generation to just give up.