The fruits of the Republican Party and the right-wing echo chamber’s campaign to incite rebellion against the federal government has come to a breaking point. Over a hundred and fifty heavily armed “militiamen” have occupied a federal building in Harney County, Oregon, at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest the sentencing of two ranchers for committing arson on federal property.
Among the insurgents are two members of the Bundy clan, who gained notoriety for provoking an armed standoff against federal authorities in April 2014 over patriarch Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees. Their intention is to instigate another confrontation with federal authorities; Ammon Bundy declared that the “The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds” and that his group “would not rule out violence if law enforcement tries to remove them. “We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely. This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”
This is just the latest incident of conservative media-fostered rebellion against President Obama and the federal government. It highlights a dangerous level of radicalization among conservatives that would never be tolerated by any other group; the right-wing lauds them as “patriots” while legitimate protest groups like Black Lives Matter are demonized and widely disparaged. This situation still has yet to fully unfold; hopefully it will be resolved without violence.
This story will be updated as new developments emerge.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.