Tim DeChristopher Deserves the Medal of Freedom Today, Not a Prison Sentence
When President Obama conferred the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal on several
American heroes yesterday, including Kentucky poet Wendell Berry, he forgot one last award: The Medal of
Freedom to Tim DeChristopher.
Instead of being convicted today on two felony accounts for placing bids and disrupting an auction for pristine wilderness Utah sites that would have been opened to gas and oil exploration, 27-year-old Tim DeChristopher should have been receiving our nation’s highest honor for “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States.”
In truth, according to DeChristopher supporters, the leases auctioned to DeChristopher were later overturned
by the Obama administration on the grounds that the George W. Bush administration’s Bureau of Land
Management had failed to complete the analysis required by federal law for the “protection of national and
As climate crime continues, who are we sending to jail?
By Bill McKibben
Let’s consider for a moment the targets the federal
government chooses to make an example of. So far, no
bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated
greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No
coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling
the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we
know it at risk.
But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the
efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas
barons? As Tim DeChristopher found out on Thursday,
that’ll get you not just a week in court, but
potentially a long stretch in the pen.
Tim is a hero not because he knew what he was getting
into. As his testimony made clear this week, he had no
idea at all; his decision to become Bidder No. 70 was
about as spontaneous an action as we’ve ever seen.