Challenging the fractivist agenda demands one not be intimidated and be willing to speak up when no one wants to listen, and allow no one to silence them.
This is Part II of my report on Binghamton’s 2nd annual Global Frackdown, which was held last Saturday, October 19, at the Martian Luther King Promenade. The event was microcosm of our battle with the fractivists, who are invariably noisy, rude, self-centered and ever focused on accusing others of doing precisely what they do, except that when others counter their tactics they cry foul, of course.
These folks must be countered and, to quote our President, punching back twice as hard is often the only appropriate response to their tactics. This not infrequently upsets some of the folks on my side of the issue and many more on the other side but it’s essential, provided we stay within the bounds of civility as I did during this Binghamton event.
First and foremost, I used no foul language, although I was certainly the target of it from the other side. There is no place for this and we all need to avoid it, no matter how much the anti-gas crowd resorts to it. Anger tends to bring this out in many of us from time to time, but we need to control our emotions and avoid offensive language. That doesn’t mean we don’t challenge the other side, though, and I did so, but it’s never easy.
When I heard an untruth being spoken I interrupted the speaker and try to engage them with a challenge. When Mayor Matt Ryan, for example, asked the audience “if gas drilling was so safe then why does the industry spend billions, correction, hundreds of millions on commercials they run every 10 seconds on TV and radio to convince the public” I yelled out, “They are forced to defend themselves against the lies and propaganda the anti camp spends millions of their foundation dollars on!” but, of course, I got no answer.
Because the event was an anti-gas activist event they weren’t expecting challenges to their statements and, as I offered one, they became quite angry, telling at me to “shut the …. up,” which seems always to be the typical response of radicals when their ideology is challenged. They apparently perceived me as a threat to their Global Frackdown event; so much so that the crowd of fractivists present started hollering “NOT ONE WELL” turning away from the stage and focusing their energy on me, even going so far as to encircle me and get in my face in what I deemed a threatening way.
Unable to match their noise level I reached into my backpack and pulled out a bullhorn shouting back “10,000 WELLS” which, of course, infuriated them. One of their bongo drummers, in fact, came up behind me and made a single punch on his drum that sounded like a gunshot because he held the drum inches from the back of my head and inadvertently hit me on the base of my neck in doing so. This is what you can expect if you challenge a fractivist group with their own tactics.
Some of my pro-gas friends who attended the event with me thought I might have gone too far in pulling out the bullhorn; that, perhaps, it was rude. I heard much worse from the fractivist side, of course, but leaving that aside, I have to disagree, even while apologizing to any friends who might have been embarrassed. Let me explain.
I long ago learned that if I want to be heard at fractivist meetings I have to be rude and shout out because if I don’t, I will be ignored no matter how long my hand is in the air. Moreover, this is what real rude looks like and it isn’t pretty:
I also recall how Bill Huston, who attended Saturday’s Global Frackdown, interrupted a Binghamton University presentation because he did not want the students to see a film. Our fractivist opponents think it’s just fine when they disrupt meetings being held by government agencies and universities who invite both sides to debate. They think it’s just swell when they threaten violence and use foul language, sometimes directing it toward town board members, to the point where the Sidney, New York, Town Board, in fear for their physical safety, was afraid to leave the meeting without a police escort to their parking lot. Directing a bullhorn at these folks at one of their propaganda events is child’s play compared to those activities and I make no apologies to them for it. If they can’t take a bullhorn at an outside event geared to send a free-speech message, then they shouldn’t be disrupting government meetings on the inside.
My experiences in confronting the other side and enduring their personal attacks tells me we will not win this fight with facts or logic alone. It is no match for their emotionalism and we must demonstrate the same passion for the truth that they employ for their ideologies. We cannot play by croquet rules when they’re playing hardball. We do not need to descend to their level of foul language, real rudeness and disruption of government hearings or events intended for debate of the issues, but I can tell you this, no I can promise, that whenever the truth is misrepresented with no equal time to respond, and I have the opportunity to disrupt the lies and propaganda being spread by fractivist types, I will stand up and shout… interrupt… and be heard. I will not be silenced.
Let me also remind our readers where the fractivist propaganda event took place; at the Martin Luther King Promenade, a memorial that represents the struggle of freedom of all Americans and the belief that we as a society can come together under the power of free speech and reconcile our differences in peaceful actions. That includes the use of a bullhorn and it’s not rude, it’s the American way. The real rude is to be found elsewhere.