When I first got serious about the coming oil trains, I knew this would boil down to liberal environmental activist groups leading the charge. While the possible environmental damage to Grays Harbor is extremely important, my main concern was the economic impact that cutting the county in two for up to 12 hours a day would have on our local economy and what is left of our way of life here — two good reasons to stop them.
I also knew that the knee-jerk reaction from my kindred on the right on the Harbor would be one of, “There go those whacked out liberals again, trying to stop trains.” And, of course, for the most part, that is what happened.
First, we worked on the issue of coal trains. When that went away, we concentrated on oil trains.
Not knowing any whacked-out liberal environmentalists, I called my old debate foe on the radio, Gary Murrell. If you are politically active here on the Harbor, you know who he is.
I said, “Hey Gary, I don’t know any, can you hook me up?”
“Sure,” he said. “I know a few.” And he did. A day later, I was put in touch with people from the local Friends of Grays Harbor group, the group cleanharbor.org and the other players on the environmental side around here. All were very nice people, despite what some may think. We have absolutely nothing in common — except for these oil and coal trains.
We don’t hold hands and spend evenings together. It is more of an uneasy truce. Both of us want to stop the trains. For the most part, it’s for different reasons. Personally, I am basking in the now 18th year of the missing global warming heat. They are constantly turning over rocks looking for it. I haven’t got the heart to tell them that once they moved the measuring stations away from air conditioner heat ducts, it disappeared. It keeps them busy and gives them something to do.
I am also noticing that the environmental groups are starting to change their focus. I realized at the recent town halls, oil train debates and scoping meetings that nobody really cares what they say up at the microphone. I doubt anyone is even writing it down. I have been waiting for them to get angry enough to, well, do what they do best. Make a stink.
The Daily World ran a photograph the other week of a lady that looked like she poured a bucket of oil over her head and was doing a protest thingy. I love street theater. Hey, she got her message and a picture in the paper, so, let’s not kid ourselves, it works.
I’ve been telling them for years now that all this education was a waste of time. They are getting the message now that this has been political from the start.
Me, I’m more of a capitalist. For instance, I’m considering creating an app for our smart phones to help us figure out the oil trains.
Here’s my pitch:
Hello friends. Are you worried about the coming oil trains? Do you fear being “cut off” from society — and Walmart? Don’t fear anymore because at the introductory price of only $19.95, we are offering an annual subscription to our new train alert service.
That’s right, you won’t be dreading getting into your car and trying to shop in Aberdeen or getting to the hospital anymore. With our network of train scouts up the line, we are able to offer in real time the approximate moment you should leave your house. Or even if you should leave your house!
Just enable the location services on your smart phone or tablet and download our Mac or Android App today. You will receive real time message alerts dictating train speed against your present location, always ensuring your ability to get over the tracks.
We all know that waiting for up to an hour for these trains to pass can cause anxiety, but worry no more because with your Oil Trains Track Alert App ver 1.0, it won’t be you looking under the seat for an empty bottle to, well, you know.
For the small fee of only an additional $5 monthly, we will even text alert you throughout the day when you should attempt to depart your home.
Act today and receive a free window sticker identifying you to the other drivers as someone that has someplace to be. Yes, we here on the Harbor must learn to live with the new mile and a half long oil trains and the fact our county from Porter to Aberdeen will be cut in two up to 12 hours a day.
WAIT! There is so much more. At no additional cost, with your annual automatic renewal subscription, you will receive text alerts in the event of train disasters like what happened in Aberdeen yesterday and in Virginia today. Both moving toxic plumes, as well as alternative routes will be displayed, ensuring you and your family’s safety from Benzene and explosive hydrogen sulphide damage. Just activate the upgrade. Let others worry about exposure to Bakken crude oil mixing agents like – ethylene glycol, the carcinogen naphthalene and hydrochloric acid as they sit for up to an hour.
While others are running for their lives, you will be safe.
Remember, for only $19.95 a year you will have the peace of mind knowing that instead of a 50-50 chance of making it to the hospital, your odds will improve — but only with your custom-built oil trains alert app. Do it today. Do it for your family. After all, what is your time worth? And don’t be caught on the wrong side of the tracks.
What do you think? Would you buy it?
I’m a pretty conservative guy — so are my friends on the right that are anti-oil train. We just don’t know how to do it. I mean, I don’t even have any poster board. What kind of paint do I use to make a sign? How big should it be? What do I wear? We need protest leaders, teachers. Are there song sheets? We want to join in, but I think a protest class 101 is in order. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves.
We need help. Trust me. If a police officer asks one of us to do something, we will most likely say, “Yes, officer, and by the way, thank you for your service.” We need organized role play to break that mindset. We must learn how to throw ourselves on the ground.
Yes, it is an uneasy alliance. Liberals and conservatives marching hand in hand toward a common goal, sharing wheatgrass sandwiches with the left, and introducing them to catered lunch plates, but I have no doubt that uniting in this common goal will achieve results.
Those in Olympia who are the real masters, they who would oil their machinery of oppression with the blood of the worker must be held to account! (Did I say that right? Was that too much?)
We look forward to marching and protesting with our new friends. Al least until this is over. Then, we can go back to normal.
Hey. Ho. The oil trains have … got … to … go!
Tom Frederiksen grew up in Montesano and lives here today. Contact him at email@example.com.