The takeaway for me was, run as fast as you can, dance every dance, do what you will, but do it NOW.
The days may be numbered to influence the protection of your homes, your property, your ability to sleep through the night knowing when you pull your foot out from under the covers to put it on the floor, that your toes won’t get wet.
As a ROPES Course instructor for 20 years, that concept of taking each of you from that first big stretch in the morning circle to the person who knew their lives were changed at the end of the day because sometime during that adventure, you felt, saw and experienced courage.
I saw courage when you entered the Coleman on a bitterly cold evening to hear what kind of hope we can muster against an entity that has no soul, only AUTHORITY. To our opinion, AUTHORITY has been abused.
You graciously allowed us to approach you and ask for your signature on simple cardboard topped with: WE HAVE BEEN FLOODED ENOUGH WE WON’T TAKE IT ANYMORE to add to the already 1,000 names we stack up and take all over town and to GRDA meetings so you are all there in name. We made larger more colorful ones we intend to ship to FERC each of the coming weeks.
We settled in and listened for hours to facts and figures given in a way, so clearly stating you guys are winners in the Courts. You are winning. You can believe there is a future, hang in there and do your part.
There is not much a single person can do. I know that. But you have a chance to do those single acts now. This is when. Later you will have no regrets. You will know you did something, maybe lots of somethings. It is not like those souls that say, “you know, I do regret not putting on my seatbelt…”
The one extra thing we learned at the Town Hall from Shannon O’Neil was FERC hasn’t had community members speak up for themselves. Usually, all the FERC officials receive are the official back-and-forths from attorneys. What they are receiving this round are your own messages on POSTCARDS. They are posting them every day. Write another one. Come by LEAD Agency and get more. Use ones you stashed from your trip to the Grand Canyon, the back is all they post, your words to FERC. The messages are moving, and real.
There are phrases in one of my mother’s favorite poems A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that keep resounding in my head:
“Time is fleeting … “
“Act, -- act in the living Present!”
At the Town Hall, there were several speakers who are out-of-towners who spoke and informed us, and showed a number of slides. On the top of the slides were the names of people I could see in the audience near where I sat. People or their loved ones who took that rascal AUTHORITY to court. It brought me to tears to see the years attached to their names. The years they have waited to be compensated, to be respected for their losses.
I don’t want any of your names on that big screen, not in that way. I want to see your names on the big screen at my computer, I want to see your names on those messages, the Postcards and the letters FERC is posting.
Use a full sheet of paper, tell and share a thing that happened, a single precious item lost to the flood. There in no way to squish everything on a postcard. Spread out your story. Send whole single pages, fill them with the what and how you FELT and feel even yet about what happens when you are flooded. If you have so far been spared, you have seen what happened across the street. You have missed wages because you could not GET HERE because the roads were closed. You filled sandbags. You know deeply what suffering is.
Don’t hold back. Dig in, pull those memories forward. Write them down and mail them to FERC. They are a Commission and do not have capacity to come interview you. But they can know more. They are the DECIDER in how GRDA’s license for the next 30 to 50 years will be.
My dad once would have said, “See you in the funny pages,” but this isn’t funny. We are playing for keeps with the big guys.
I want you to know you did a thing, you did too speak up.
“Let us be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing … “
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim
For your information:
Attn: Secretary Kimberly D. Bose
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, DC 20426