I don't doubt for a moment the sincerity of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
They're wrong, of course. Their concerns are overblown. Their notions about tribal land, while born of a tragic and regrettable history, are simply unworkable in 2017.
But at least they're genuine.
You can't say that about the left wing organizers or the celebrity activists like Shailene Woodley and Mark Ruffalo. Back when the #NoDAPL cause was the flavor of the month they were happy to associate themselves with it.
They came to south central North Dakota and mouthed words about protecting water, and protecting land, while credulous and star struck reporters scrambled to document their inane utterances. They went back to Hollywood and used their platforms at awards shows and movie premiers to advertise their participation in the protests.
Where are they now?
The land they said they wanted to protect has been scarred. Holes have been dug and filled with human waste. Hundreds of cars have been abandoned in the mud. Literally tons of trash have to be hauled away, much of it brand new clothing and equipment donated and delivered to the camp at the heights of the protest movement's notoriety.
"It's slow moving," Lt. Tom Iverson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol told me of clean up efforts during a recent interview, "and it's not going to be fast enough to be honest."
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, along with state and federal officials, have been left scrambling but they're running out of time. Record setting snows have combined with early spring weather to turn the camps into a veritable soup bowl of muck and debris which will be washed into the Lake Oahe reservoir if not addressed.
Even if it all gets cleaned up in time, the ruts and holes left behind by the activity of thousands and thousands of people will take years to heal.
Tribal chairman David Archambault has been calling on the protesters to clean up their camps and leave the area since December, warning that spring flooding was likely. For his efforts he's been derided as a traitor to the cause.
"What I saw happen was something that was beautiful," he said in a January interview with a student newspaper in Oregon. "Then I saw it just turn to where it's ugly, where people are fabricating lies and doing whatever they can, and they're driven by the wrong thing."
Iverson told me there are still an estimated 280 people at the Oceti Sakowin camp, only "some" of whom "understand the importance of cleaning up."
Meanwhile Woodley has been "dishing" to Entertainment Tonight about how totally "inspirational" it was to see Malia Obama advocating for #NoDAPL at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
These people expect us to take them seriously.
What a joke.
If Shailene Woodley, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Matthews, Jane Fonda, and the rest of the activist celebrities (as if there were another kind these days) mean what they say about the environment then let them come back to North Dakota, put on some work gloves, and clean up the mess.
They promoted this cause. They helped inspire activists from around the nation - many of the violent extremists - to join the camps here in North Dakota. They told us they were standing with Standing Rock.
So prove it.
You stood with Standing Rock back when fighting the pipeline was a good way to get your name in the headlines.
How about you stand with them when it's time to clean up the land you said you wanted to protect?