Fish: Winning at all cost is a lose-lose game


I, for one, am growing fatigued by this win-at-any-and-all-cost mentality this country has developed.

On the one hand adults compete at everything as though it's the last thing they're ever going to do, while at the same time being proud of their child for getting a participation trophy. I honestly can't figure out what we want more — a country full of people who wince at the first sign of rejection or confrontation, or someone who just pops off into a rage over absolutely the dumbest thing you can think of.

The most recent example of unreasonable behavior that basically thumbs its nose at others — Standing Rock Sioux. Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners took its bulldozers and caused irreparable harm to sacred burial grounds, prayer sites and significant artifacts. Why? Because the operators of those bulldozers knew they had the Standing Rock Sioux outnumbered and frankly, have it in their heads that no matter what they do, there will be no repercussions. Win at all cost. Sure it may be a bit of a stretch but let me present it to you this way: They want to put a pipeline through Brattleboro; in order to do so they must bulldoze a cemetery, a museum and the church behind it. How do you feel about it now? Probably like I do — it stinks!

My grandmother died in 1969, and I attended her funeral as a small child. I think I probably went back to the gravesite once with my mother and then never went back. Does that mean I want someone unearthing the woman to give way to a pipeline? It does not! Conversely, I count on people everywhere to defend and respect the dead. I have nobody buried in Vermont, but if they wanted to run a pipeline through the cemetery on South Main Street you can count on me raising heaven and earth to stop it. People's relatives are buried there; our history is buried there.

Besides, when did we decide that we could simply just take whatever we wanted? I guess we could ask the Standing Rock Sioux; after all, these Native Americans were here long before we were and we took their land then gave some of it back to them so they had a place to call home. But that's a different story for a different day.

Back to the "let's just take it" mentality. We can put a man on the moon, we can do surgery with lasers, the capability to run fully electric cars is there, the phones we use have more capability than that first shuttle that landed on the moon's surface. So exactly why can't we find a way around sacred sites? Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners literally bulldozed ancestors of these Native Americans right out of the ground! Isn't anyone else deeply bothered by that? Oh, and while they were doing it, they used tear gas, dogs and pepper spray on the people who were basically protesting. By the way, a constitutional right.

What it boils down to is a win-at-all-cost scenario with conference table generals whipping up the masses to go after the other masses that don't want it to happen. It boils down to the haves and the have nots, and the have nots in this case are the Sioux and they are simply trying to preserve a way of life and protect their heritage. Yet we can't respect that? Win at all cost goes on all around us, from simple road rage incidents to attacking protestors.

I'm not saying that all protestors are 100 percent correct all of the time. But what's wrong with listening and going through a process that it fair and balanced? Oh, I know ... it costs money to do that! What the hell is up with that?

Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.


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