[Senator Throop would see oil and fracking industry lobbyists only if he could serve them hot urine beverages and hors d’oeuvres of body grease cheese from only God knows where. I wrote the following essay for an anti-fracking exhibition I gave in Syracuse in April, 2015. If she had her druthers, Senator Ritchie (48th NY district) would free up fracking and therefore toluene ingestion to every toddler in New York State.]
I am taking art to the level it was meant to be. Presently I am documenting our last battle.
I am one man, one artist insane, crazy enough to place the entire hydro-fracking debate onto my shoulders. I have taken up a position, and now will give the only argument morally acceptable. I shall schlop onto canvas, paper, and hardboard the property rapists of my country in all the colors of their inside organs and respective juices. After viewing my show, all pro-fracking dreams will blow out of the state quicker than the greedy butt-crack stampede from Texas that brought them here.
I shall not take up a scientific argument on the process. Hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale has the potential of poisoning the groundwater for hundreds of thousands of people for many generations. A man need only hear this news once to react. Just using the logic of foraging black bears would measure some intelligent questions to follow. Who is to profit from these drilling ventures? Is it true that there are cases where tap water out west can be ignited from a faucet? What are the chemicals used in the process? Why doesn’t the industry have to disclose them publicly? Pushing millions of gallons of freshwater laced with up to a hundred chemicals (known and unknown) into the rock bed under high pressure to release mass quantities of methane just doesn’t sound that safe, does it? I mean, even to a moron, or an alcoholic, or wife beater. So why does the Governor of New York State allow this kind of Texas oilman trespass upon his constituents? True, the silent-majority of Americans are mostly short-sighted and selfish, always ready with an opinion on either side of the death debate.
Farmer Ted: “A hundred grand a lease? That’s powerful money. I don’t want government telling me who not to poison. Where do I sign?”
Governor Andrew: “Eight million to my super-fund? Screw New York infants!”
I am working on a painting to shame the governor out of his fine Italian suit. I have the bones of his grandmother, Immaculata, in a red dress, being shot from her Long Island grave by a geyser of liquid carcinogens. Some shore birds and other funny creatures are hanging out in the cemetery on a moonlit night. Words across the sky might read: Hey Governor, We Sure Hope That Immaculata Isn’t Fracked Out of the Very Ground You Saturate With Poison. We’ll see what kind of reaction I get from our state boss. I will put on a price tag of six thousand dollars. Maybe he will buy it to destroy it. Half of the proceeds will pay my tax to the Onondaga. The other half will go toward a bigger painting of shame until the Governor uses his overpaid trooper gang to escort Texas oil the hell off our land.
Laissez-faire capitalism was a grand party for the chosen few during the 19th century. And it ran like a top beside the presence of cholera and death-by-childbirth. Such frequent miseries kept all survival joys in check. A slave workforce made anyone not a slave much too busy to oversee the rich neighbor’s trespass. And the water was always dirty poop, for science had not yet escaped the confines of the Pentateuch. God took little Johnny because it was predestined to be. What matter that Grandma picked pole beans with fecal fingers? Or that they laid Johnny to rest with his lead toy soldier ten feet from the well-sweep? Suzy was next, and the family watched her every move with working dread.
Today we know better. We know a lot about the environment and the fragile balance that exists wherever man settles his toxic prejudice. Modern families don’t pour known carcinogens into their wells for a paycheck. Yet for some wicked reason the government by the people, and for the people, wants to persuade the people to consider this action as an economic opportunity. Poison our kids and we will reap wonderful financial benefits. Instant winnings for the well leasers. Trickle-down, cheap energy for everyone else. A few, maybe even thirty dead kids, but all iPhones still humming at Cafe des Artistes on the Upper West Side.
Politics have officially warped into a vile adjunct of corporate power. The Governor knows hydrofracking has the potential to make all life around it sick and dying. He knows that the majority of his lunch friends are corrupt, negligent, and possibly homicidal in their dealings with the red-faced Texans and their high greed agenda. Yet he still touts childhood cancer as a regretful, albeit necessary result of hydraulic fracturing.
We who matter should have our legs sawed off for being such cowards. Why is my call for immediate arrest of the Governor ignored? He should be unkindly imprisoned for life for perpetuating this phony debate endangering the better health of our friends and families.
Another angle to consider is this: New York State government has no authority to offer these carpetbagging cheese faces high bid rights to our land. The chemical water shoots over boundaries, and seeps across roads.
It’s a vote of no-confidence folks. Take a walk in the woods to reflect upon who has power over your family and friends. I shall start paying my tax to the true nation-state where throughout this life I rest my travel bones. The Onondaga base their policy decisions on how the seventh generation will be affected. Oh that is wise. And strong. The Governor could use a real father-chief to slap him down in shame before the rest of the tribe.
The dumb among us will take all of their neighbors to the justice of the Onondaga quicker than a frack-gush up the proverbial coke nose of avarice. We are so poisoned in the brain by this government we prop up by virtue of a coddled economy.
Here’s a take from a long dead Atlantic traveler on how man has become a somewhat useful pawn of the present state:
After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Those local clans still bearing a conscience need to organize a mob. The land men want your land. The companies they represent want to see your babies get sick for a profit. A super biggie profit. A hot dangy-dong-diddle-dee-doo kind of big fat Texas goo profit. A glass of cool, fresh indian water and not-so-indian carcinogenic compounds to quench a summer thirst. A Saturday night bath and a red rash tattoo for little coughing Tom and coffin Sue. What’s it worth to you, shale squatters of the present moment? A temporary new smell in a shiny red pick-up? A pole barn envy? The NFL Sunday ticket?
They desire a hot ejaculation of benzene and phenol into your village groundwater. The Governor hovers above in a trooper chopper, rubbing his hands together in a show of fiendish glee. He longs to see all of you rurals heaped onto a pile. Your pathetic firehouse vote is laughable to the millions of Manahattas sucking the earth out from under your feet. A hundred grand to sicken my family for life? Really? That much, eh?
Okay, I’m in. Wait till they see my loaded Deere at the Grange. That hog Harold Hoenow will be green from envy, or that Vanadium cocktail he shared on the porch with Ruth.
No, I have to hope there is still a slurry of indigenous righteousness left swirling in our guts. Please good people temporarily living atop the ancient beds of shale, be kind and hospitable to the landmen at your door. A smile and a kind word is all anybody needs. And on a hot summer’s day, a cold glass of lemon-lime aid sweetened with antifreeze wouldn’t hurt either. It might teach these raunchy carpetbaggers to prey on their own kind back in the dumbed-down, drought-dried southlands.
They’re coming to a door near you. Get ‘em.