Ideologically pure conservatives apparently are so desperate for heroes, so fed up with what they call the overreach of the federal government, that they have turned Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy into an American folk hero – a modern day no-nonsense cowboy who takes no guff; a 2014 version of John Wayne.
Bundy, for those of you who don’t watch Fox News, refuses to pay grazing fees to the federal government because he believes it’s not the federal government’s land. Never mind that it is. Facts don’t mean much to Cliven Bundy.
I mention Fox News because many on the network haven’t covered the Bundy story so much as they have been cheerleaders for Bundy. Interviews aren’t journalistic interrogations; they’re valentines wrapped up in butterfly kisses.
After a confrontation with Bureau of Land Management agents – the agents at one point used a Taser on one of Bundy’s sons – supporters of Bundy showed up from all over the place — more than a few with guns. At least one that I saw on Fox had a semi-automatic weapon. Some also wore bulletproof vests.
The hard right loved it.
But here’s a question for all the true-blue right-wingers whose paranoia over federal “overreach” has consumed them:
What if the lefties from Occupy Wall Street held a rally … and the police moved in to arrest them for some violation … and supporters of the left-wingers showed up with guns and bulletproof vests? How would true-blue conservatives feel about that?
We know how they would feel. They’d start by calling them commies. Then they’d say the police should arrest all of them. They’d say the law is the law and since they broke the law they should all be tossed in jail.
But Bundy also broke the law. Several federal courts have ruled that he owes the government money. Apparently the right-wing law and order crowd only cares about law and order when liberals are breaking the rules.
There are legitimate arguments to be made about whether the federal government should control so much land in the West. And it’s understandable that westerners – especially ranchers who live off the land – would be especially concerned. But Bundy isn’t the final word about what’s right and wrong. And neither are his gun-toting supporters.
And here’s something else for the rancher’s loyal fans to consider. The New York Times has just run a story about the saga of Cliven Bundy and about how he regularly holds court with reporters. He clearly loves the attention he’s getting.
Here’s some of what he recently told reporters about a drive past a public housing project in North Las Vegas:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro … and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
So, my all ideologically pure, hard right, friends, that is your hero — a man who in 2014 wonders if “Negroes” would be better off as slaves.
No amount of frustration with so-called RINO’s – moderate Republicans – can justify such admiration for such a stupid man.