Dear Roanoke County,
I am not a generational Virginian. I am not an environmentalist. I do not consider myself a liberal or even a democrat. Oh, and I don't eat organic.
But I do know and I can state that the actions of the county are not in line with basic human-centered values when it comes to the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
For days, there was a woman who is peacefully protesting the MVP on her own property, in her own tree house, in her own tree. Alarmingly, police presence was heavy around the clock for days in this little spot up on Bent Mountain.
Pray tell, please explain. How is it that:
We have issues of school safety in the county.
Yet, we are expending valuable law enforcement resources on a tree sitter.
We have issues of poverty within the county.
Yet, we are barring said tree sitter from receiving food or water.
We have issues with crime and vandalism in the county.
Yet, we are enabling the vandalism of our own beautiful Blue Ridge.
We have issues of abuse and domestic violence in the county.
Yet, we are abusing one of our own.
We have issues of religious divisiveness within the county.
Yet, we are standing for division by abusing the very law that governs us.
We have issues of racism, ethnocentrism and sexism within the county.
Yet, we are focusing on pipelines over people.
Does life matter?
Do priorities matter?
Do ethics matter?
Is it not community over corporation?
There is one side to take.
It is the side of humanity.
There is one belief to hold.
It is the belief that people take precedence over pipelines.
There is one course to take.
It is to identify our values.
Embrace our values.
Live our values.
Are we brave enough to tackle these other pervasive and difficult issues, instead of attacking the woman in a tree who probably has more ethics than us all?
Are we brave enough to listen to those who speak up about community injustices and allocate precious county resources to matters that truly need them?