To bully: To use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
Bullying has become a real problem in schools and communities across The USA and has led to acts of violence that are sickening to witness. if we hope to understand the root of the problem, I believe that first we must take an honest look at our culture, and what is being perpetuated socially, economically and Culturally. Children are great imitators and like sponges soak up the influences of their environment and culture. What examples are being set for children? What and who is influencing these children?
I do not assume to have the answer to such a complex question, but I will share some observations. As a citizens of the front range of Colorado, I have witnessed bullying on a level that I never knew existed in the adult realm, until recently. In the past year, I have seen corporations bullying communities to a degree that frightens and shocks me.
Within the past 2 years, longmont, Broomfield, Fort Collins, Lafayette and Boulder banned or paused fracking via popular vote. This occurred despite the fact that the industry oil and gas spent over a million dollars in these cities expounding misinformation via shiny fliers, paid media, and paid canvassers. If you live in the front range, you know what I’m talking about; You still can’t listen to NPR or Pandora without being assured how safe and wonderful fracking is for communities. Despite this well orchestrated media campaign by the industry, these cities voted unanimously not to be fracked. Now, the oil and gas industry (along with the state!) have actually sued these cities, implying that we have no right to participate in this decision. This is the quintessential behavior of a bully; “I did not get what I want, so I will use my power to coerce you into giving me what I want, against your will.”
Sharon Carlisle, a citizen of Loveland, Colorado has experienced corporate bullying directly. Sharon designed an action to create awareness around Protect Our Loveland’s campaign for a two year moratorium on fracking. Through an undertaking of deep personal commitment to this issue, Sharon decided to sit on the bench in the Pocket Park on 4th street in downtown Loveland, 7 days a week, from 8 am - 10 am. She would hold up a POL moratorium sign so as to create awareness about the upcoming vote.
One day, Sharon returned to this same spot to perform her daily ritual and the bench had been moved to the inside of the park, pushed out of sight. Sharon explains, “That bench had been sitting on the sidewalk along 4th Street in front of the Pocket Park for the whole 20 some years that I have lived in Loveland. Why move it now?”
This didn’t discourage Sharon or other members of Protect Our Loveland from moving ahead. They successfully collecting thousands of signatures for their citizens initiated ballot. In response, an individual from Loveland sued Protect Our Loveland in attempt to stymie their effort from moving forward so at to prevent the ballot from being placed onto the November Election. Guess who backed the individual who sued them? No surprise, the oil and gas industries’ robust legal team! The industry tactic worked and the ballot got tied up in a web of legal delays that prevented Loveland from having a vote last November.
Approximately eight months later, after showing that the suit held no weight under the law, a judge finally scheduled a special election for this upcoming June 24th.
This delay created a number of challenges to this upcoming election that make it difficult for Loveland citizens’ voice to be fully represented. Firstly, since the election was delayed, moratorium advocates missed out on the pool of volunteer resources that were available last fall to the other cities that passed initiatives. Also, the election period is short, so their is less time to inform voters and get out the vote. This is a clear attempt by the Oil and Gas industry to steal an election and silence the public voice in Loveland.
In response, we aim to do the opposite. We are educating voters of their ability to vote by knocking doors and reminding citizens of this special election for a two year time out on fracking.
It is so important that we stand with Loveland right now. By standing together as unified communities throughout the front range, we are building solidarity and power and as a result, we become a force that is more difficult to bully. We also set a different cultural example for our children; one of solidarity, support and courage.
Please stand with us as we stand with Loveland. To get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org