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CANNON BALL—Does it really matter who the protesters are at the Cannon Ball encampment? Fact is, we are about to put a pipeline transporting an ocean of oil beneath the Missouri River, a very important water source. How much smarter is that than when, 100 years ago, we allowed factories to dump their waste into rivers? Is it risky? Much less so if installers do their jobs correctly.
Mr. Logic has moved away. Where he has gone is anyone's guess. He has been replaced by Mr. Legalese, Mr. Greed and Miss Communication, and that can't be good for any of us. I discovered this last Wednesday when I visited the site of the encampment and prayer vigil at the north end of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball. I went there to see Paula Antoine, who is the Director of the Land Office on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Do you know what a pickup man is? In rodeo, he is essentially a lifesaver. Now you wouldn't necessarily notice that during the average bronc ride, but he is. And here's why. He prevents bad things from happening. Joe Blankenship, who grew up near Glendive, Mont., and then attended Dickinson State University, where he rode bulls for the DSU rodeo team, now lives near Gladstone and is one of the preeminent pickup men in the region.
"There is no greater burden than losing a child," said Dan Dietz Sr. while seated across from me on an outdoor patio at The Platte River Bar & Grill in Littleton, Colo. None of us who have children will, for even a millisecond, argue that point. But losing a child for Dan Dietz Sr. might be a little different than for other parents because his son's death has been so visibly outlined in a book and in the popular movie "Lone Survivor."
Are you a very vulnerable American? I'm sorry to inform you, especially in this election year that you are. But let's not just assume that. Let's give you a quiz. I'm going to give you a list of what you might consider truths and you can determine, on your own, if you are someone who is easily misled or vulnerable.
Have you reached the age yet where, when you talk about yourself as a young man or woman, you feel like you're talking about someone else? I have. It took a few decades but that time has arrived and not only that but, on occasion, if only for a millisecond, I even wonder if some of the things I remember really happened, or if I dreamed them?
How long have we been selling out America? Too long, I'm afraid. Political offices in America are now platforms and launching pads. They are platforms from which our elected officials sell America to the highest bidders and they are launching pads for enacted legislation that gives those bidders their return on investment. Those bidders are made up of everything from the banking, oil and pharmaceutical industry to other nations and business people, both legitimate and illegitimate, from around the world.
I hate the status quo, mostly because it's boring and stale. Then again, I'm sure there are a lot of people who hate the status quo. Or are there? According to Mr. Dictionary, Mr. Status Quo is defined as "the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues." Mr. Dictionary also adds, as an example of how to use the word: "They have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo."
Last year, on the first Saturday in August at the Home on the Range ranch for disadvantaged youth near Sentinel Butte, we interviewed a number of saddle bronc riders during the Champions Match Ride Rodeo. The interviews were eventually aired on our weekly "Special Cowboy Moments" TV show on NBC and, of course, the biggest interview of all was of Wade Sundell, who happened to be the winner of the event.
Aren't you getting just a little sick of everyone everywhere constantly being on their cellphone or smartphone? It's a galactic addiction. The whole world, and possibly beyond, spends most of their waking hours staring at their phone. It's really bizarre when you think about it. Do you feel like you want to walk up to people, grab their smartphone and launch it as far as you possibly can? I do.