I came to Washington long ago to work for Republican Rep. Pete McCloskey, a lawyer and decorated Marine whom I admired for his belief in public service. On the office wall was a saying that doing good creates concentric circles of good. Among other things, Pete was a co-founder of Earth Day and co-author of the Endangered Species Act.
It touches me that Pete still is standing up for what he believes at age 89.
Here is Pete's statement about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight to block construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota:
"My wife Helen and I drove up to Standing Rock on September 28th to offer the Sioux leaders the pro bono legal assistance of my law firm, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of Burlingame, California.
"While we were there Indians were arriving from tribes all over the world. There were two young native girls from Iceland who sang a wonderful song of their tribe. The next day, my 89th birthday, I told the leaders that "this was the happiest day of my life, and it was an honor to be with them." (Helen had $1,000 in bills in an envelope to bail me out when I got arrested.)
"But today, December 3rd, may be the most significant event in American history since June 25, 1973, when Congress ordered President Nixon to halt the devastating bombing of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
"The credit should go to that young Hispanic combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who asked 500 fellow vets to go with him to Standing Rock on Monday, December 5th, the day the Corps of Engineers had announced they would tear down the tents and tepees of the hundreds of Indians, and turn the occupants out into South Dakota's 20-below-zero temperatures and snowstorm. Over 2,000 vets responded to his request that they form a human wall between the water cannons and rubber bullets of the police and hired security men.
"Blessed be those vets.
"So the Corps will now re-examine the pipeline route and will halt the construction on Monday, December 5th. There can still be justice for the Indians after 165 years of injustice and broken treaties."
Pete and Helen with members of the Havasupai tribe's delegation at Standing Rock