Complicit in Killing the Earth: Of Pepsi Challenges and Democrats and Republicans

Gyasi Ross

A few months ago—right up until Election Day—many of our people messaged and pontificated like crazy to point out that there are serious and profound differences between the two political parties. This past election was presented as the ultimate Pepsi Challenge©; in a blind-folded taste test, Native people chose Barack Obama and Democrats 2 to 1!! 

A few years ago, I was one of those people—I worked on the President’s campaign and honestly thought that we were entering a new generation of progressive politics, where Democrats moved back to respecting our people and the Earth.  But at that time, I didn’t get the punchline of the Pepsi Challenge, the fine print that we never hear on the commercials:

“Whichever you choose will still kill you.”

That is, whichever choice you make—Pepsi or Coke—both are horrible choices.  YES, one might taste better to you—you dig the spiciness of Coke or prefer to catch the wave of Pepsi.  Still, when you finish that refreshing can of pop, you’ve just ingested exactly the same high fructose corn syrup, brominated vegetable oils.  Both brands will kill your teeth, makes you fat, causxe erectile dysfunction, etc etc…No matter which one you choose, both Coke AND Pepsi do that.  Therefore, while one might be nominally better, they both kill you. 

And just like pop kills Native people disproportionately, this Keystone XL pipeline will disproportionately affect Native sacred sites, unmarked Native grave sites, our aboriginal homelands. 

We’re seeing that same scenario play out in politics with the Keystone XL Pipeline.  The party that is supposed to be pro-environment, the Democrats, are working hand-in-hand with the party that unabashedly loves scorching the Earth, the Republicans, to absolutely kill any possibility of yours and my grandchildren and great-grandchildren having a quality of life that even remotely approaches ours.

Make no mistake, our grandchildren are screwed if this thing goes through.  The Keystone XL pipeline and our dependence upon fossil fuels generally will ensure that.  Think Soylent Green. Think Children of Men.  Think Planet of the Apes, except with no talking apes (I don’t think). As we speak, the supposedly different Democrats and Republicans are conspiring together to kill the Earth, trample over Native burial grounds and sacred sites. In fairness, President Obama has noted that the Keystone XL pipeline is not a major job creator, and perhaps that will be a basis for rejecting this especially since some 68% of his voters disapprove of this project.

I hope so. 

Still, as noted previously, the President effectively gave himself cover when the State Department rubber-stamped the environmental impact statement and said the pipeline would have "no significant impact to the environment,"

Pepsi and Coke will both kill us—there really is no choice.  Instead, we need to drink water, a radical choice, in order to live.  Similarly, we need to start earnestly looking for a radical option to the political parties that are killing us—the Green Party, Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke, help us please!! Funny, the things that get characterized as “radical” are the ones that will keep us alive. 

We fell for the political Pepsi Challenge—God help us all.  God help our kids, Native and non-Native, even more—they’re gonna need it. 

Contact your Senator -- the information is here.  Tell them “no.”

Gyasi Ross
Blackfeet Nation
Twitter: @BigIndianGyasi




You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



Dantethebaker's picture
Submitted by Dantethebaker on
The 2 party system and most of the media have destroyed government. The media won't allow the third party candidates in the debates so the public never gets the chance to hear them speak, and majority of the media completely ignores the third party candidates. The debates have turned into an infomercial where the candidates stick to a script regardless of what question was asked, and there are no follow up questions. The candidate with the most money can purchase enough negative ads to squash their opponent - the ads don't have to be true, nobody takes the time to verify anything before they run it, or allow for a rebuttal, they just want the money. But you knew all that... and I can go on... Now here is my question, are there any solutions out there in the land of Coke or Pepsi and an almost completely complacent media? I think the U.S. political system's days are over we have a "new boss". The new boss is a handful of multinational corporations that own all the banks, insurance companies, utilities, and almost all of the media. I applaud anyone who is still speaking out about fracking, social justice, and fairness we owe it to the future generations to continue to do so... LOUDLY!

brenda meadows's picture
brenda meadows
Submitted by brenda meadows on
nothing new usa robbed lied and b.s. native americans have been getting a raw deal . stories change but it is still the same old thing

shannon c dawson's picture
shannon c dawson
Submitted by shannon c dawson on
I have been tryin for YEARS to get trough to young and old alike that voting for eather of the big two is voting for the same team!!!!! AND THey have the same agenda!!!!TO KILL, TO DESTROY, TO MuRDER,TO RUIN ALL that is good an natuarl,, YOU THINK Im out of control LOOK AT OUR MOTHER EARTH!!!!! Who did all this SH1T to make OUR world UNINHABITABLE !!!Well it ant the 10 or so other partys that never get a seat at the debate! YOu really think the Prezadent is "in charge". $$$ talks and if u dont gots no money,,?

Beverly Babb's picture
Beverly Babb
Submitted by Beverly Babb on
Drink water! Walk! Ride a bike! Drive a Hybrid! Solar and wind could provide our every need. Buckminster Fuller talked about power transmission lines that would follow the sun around the earth. That was more than 50 years ago. The answers are out there but implementing them is "gonna" be hard work. Oh yes, and don't drink Pepsi or Coke!

myra catherine long's picture
myra catherine long
Submitted by myra catherine long on
Thank you for all of your clarity and urging. Helping out with the arrival of Dakota Unity Riders and Two Row Wampum Renewal Treaty Campaign, July 27 to August 09, 2013,,,..epic canoe journey in the NE on Hudson River for symbolic enactment of the 400th year recognition of the 1613 treaty between Haudenosaunee and European settlers..."Honor Native Treaties and Protect the Earth" Presentations planned at the UN Worlds Indigenous Peoples Day including the International Code of Sacred Sites. April 02 is last day to apply for the row on the river at People coming from all over for educational and advocacy events about first nations peoples along the Hudson River. Thank you for your time. Myra C. Long/New Paltz, NY

makana's picture
Submitted by makana on
its not that either party.... it's the collective group that makes up the elected officials If you believe that one person in all that mire (president or congressman) can change things in four or even 8 years you are delusional and do not understand the workings of the house and senate and/or big business!!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I'm too old to believe that one political party cares about Native concerns. I am old enough and cynical enough to know that voting is more the choosing of the lesser of two evils as opposed to choosing the best man for the job. That said, I view Conservatives and the Republican Party as being detrimental ESPECIALLY to minorities. These people want to cut any benefits to the social well-being so they can continue to line their pockets with our tax dollars. And don't believe that BS about them wanting to save money: the Republican controlled Congress is currently trying to buy 426 million dollars of new tanks for the Army that the Army has said they DON'T want. I guess they already have their next war planned should they regain the White House.