It's fascinating to see who the Conservative Movement chooses to celebrate. For much of the year it's been authoritarian strongman Vladimir Putin. Conservatives just seem to love the way he "takes decisive action" and "knows how to get things done."
This week Conservatives have a new crush, however...deadbeat rancher and "Sovereign Citizen" Cliven Bundy. As is all too common with Conservative "heroes", however, there's nothing heroic about Cliven Bundy.
The latest right-wing media poster-victim, Cliven Bundy, is just the latest in a long line of desert dwellers who thinks he or she should not have to follow the law and has a god-given right to unlimited use of public resources, in this case, rangeland. I know the mentality well, because I grew up in rural Nevada and clung desperately to such beliefs until only a few years ago.
Bundy has not paid grazing fees in close to 20 years, while the federal government has, with painful, stupid moves, tried to somehow deal with him. Bundy also faced restrictions because he continued to graze cattle on a slice of public land reserved for the endangered desert tortoise. He was invited to talk to Sean Hannity (of course) about the “standoff.”
“We want freedom,” Bundy said. I don’t know what freedom Bundy’s talking about. He does not own the land nor does he even pay the modest fees required to use it. Thousands of ranchers across the West pay fees for their businesses, but Bundy thinks he should get to use public resources to make a personal profit. Cliven Bundy, far from being a patriot, is also clearly a straight-up communist.
Bundy is using the language of freedom, patriotism and outright paranoia to further his business interests. He succeeded wildly in drawing other “patriots” to his slice of contested desert. I don’t know these exact people, but the words and phrases they used were the nursery rhymes of my childhood. I’ve been listening to ignorant people bitch about the federal “gub’met,” since I could crawl, and I’m weary of it. I can’t bear to hear poor people rally to the defense of moneyed interests like mining and ranching, like well-trained, bleating sheep. As tired and silly as I find his language, clearly it worked. He so inflamed the lunatic militia movement, that many rallied to him, often from out of state, with guns and naked threats. They created a real possibility that someone might get killed, so the feds backed down.
It's hard to figure out why, but we certainly SHOULD be asking what sort of game the Conservative media is playing at. WHY is virtually every talk radio host in the wingnutosphere and Rightwing bastion Fox News working overtime to rub the lunatic militiamen out of their lamps? It's impossible to deny that's what's happening, however;
Now, Sean Hannity is running around the powder magazine with a blowtorch again.
"But let's put these two things together here," Hannity pressed. "We have Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., he made the comment that he has sources inside the federal government warning that the weekend retreat was only a move to distract attention, diffuse tensions, because a raid on the family's ranch is being planned. Couple that with Harry Reid's comments that this is 'not over.' You gotta believe that something is brewing here, no?...Well if he's saying it's 'not over,' and then you have a sheriff saying he has sources inside the government, what would happen ... what would happen if they came in the early morning hours one day to your ranch?" Hannity pressed yet again.