Michael Bagdes-Canning is a long time fracktivist from Butler County, Pennsylvania. The following is taken from an email Michael wrote this afternoon in response to Steve Norris.
Steven, other fasters, all,
When you wrote, “Many people, FERC employees and passersby, walk past and ignore us.”, it was jarring to me. I wake up every morning and I think of you all. Throughout the day, I think of you. Before I go to bed, I think of you. Sometimes I wake in the night thinking of you. I tell others about what you’re up to. I know that you are fasting for me and others like me. I know that you are fasting for all of us – including those that walk by ignoring you, FERC employees, the FERC Commissioners. I am grateful.
The work that you are doing is both profound and humbling. Confronting the Commissioners in their lair is fierce. Confronting them over and over with the damage they are doing is relentless. Confronting them with an empty stomach, day after day, for weeks on end is heroic, fierce, and relentless.
I cannot believe that you are being ignored. If what you were doing was “one and done” – you’d be ignored. What you guys (and I use that term in a generic way, realizing that some of the most amazing BXEers are not guys in the usual sense of the word) have done (and continue to do) is noticed. Eyes may be averted, but people notice. You are bearing witness but you are also also making others witnesses to the ongoing inaction of FERC – your continuing presence is testimony to FERC’s inaction.
People notice. Many, I’m certain, are uncomfortable and look away but looking away doesn’t make you go away. Others may look away because they realize they should be doing something and aren’t – your action shames them. Others may look away out of guilt, they work for FERC or the industry that pulls the strings. Others may be like me, too often, not really see you because their minds are elsewhere but are vaguely aware that you’re there – and then, suddenly, pulled out of their unconsciousness.
Wendell Berry, in an essay entitled The Commerce of Violence, wrote:
You guys are reversing that. You are voluntarily fasting to point out the routine destruction our system imposes “by remote control” on communities everywhere.
I’m reading all of the posts – Debbie’s, Thomas’, Ted’s, yours, others. I’m engaged. You’re not ignored in this small borough in western Pennsylvania. My thoughts, my prayers, my dreams are with you. I’m reading all of the posts – Debbie’s, Thomas’s, Ted’s, yours, others. I’m engaged. You’re not ignored in this small borough in western Pennsylvania. My thoughts, my prayers, my dreams are with you.