As right-wing Christian terrorists continue their armed standoff against the federal government and hole up in a federal building, it’s very important for us to remember that some of our most prominent politicians endorse and encourage this kind of anti-government sedition. The rancher standoff in April 2014 nearly led to mass bloodshed between federal agents and traitor militias defending the Bundy Ranch when the agents attempted to confiscate his cattle in order to pay $1 million in unpaid grazing fees over the past few decades. Three of Bundy’s sons are currently with the armed insurgents in Oregon.
Right-wing politicians flocked to support the insurgents, including several men who are not only elected officials but are actively seeking the Presidency. It just goes to show that the hypocrisy of the right-wing truly knows no bounds – advocating resistance to the power of the office that they themselves are seeking. Right-wing conservative media flocked to paint them as noble patriots resisting the advances of an overreaching government, when in fact they were petty, racist criminals refusing to obey the law.
The Koch Brothers’ organization, Americans For Prosperity, was extremely vocal in their support for him; FOX News gave him a soapbox for him to incite rebellion against the United States government; within four days of his appearance on Glenn Beck’s program, hundreds of anti-government zealots had flocked to Nevada like so many jihadis travelling to Syria. The Kochs and the Republican Party are interested in the land-use issue because they want to privatize the federally protected wildlife refuges and auction off the land for development to the highest bidder; indeed, as Truthout noted:
“That’s the ironic thing about the militia movement. Despite all its rage against corrupt government, American decline, and the elites, in the end, the only people who benefit from its fight against “big government” are the same people who are already destroying our country – the billionaires and the oligarchs. To put it bluntly, the militias are the useful idiots of the one percent.”
Which then explains why Republican presidential candidates, those devoted servants of the oligarch class, support anti-government extremists. Two elected officials, Senators even, have expressed their support for the insurgency:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the biggest offender, giving his bizarre blend of Ayn Randian libertarianism. He believes that “there is a legitimate constitutional question here about whether the state should be in charge of endangered species or whether the federal government should be,” and that “you run into problems now with the federal government being, you know, this bully — this big huge government bully. You would have less of that if you had more local ownership of the land. State ownership would be better, but even better would be private ownership.”
Obviously, Rand is very upset at the “big bully” of government not allowing his corporate backers to defile the wilderness or drive the wildlife into extinction. Religious extremist and an anti-government zealot in his own right, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), agrees with Rand, but as usual places the blame with President Obama: “We have seen our liberty under assault from a government hell-bent on expanding its authority over every aspect of our lives, using the jackboot of authoritarianism to come against the citizens…the [Bundy standoff] is the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on.”
They are also joined by private citizens Dr. Ben Carson and fascist rabble-rouser Donald Trump. Carson said that the Bundy group were some “pretty outstanding people” and in his usual senseless ramblings, said that “But the fact of the matter is if you look back through history, what our government is doing is not unprecedented by any stretch of the imagination, it always starts like this and freedom is not free and there may come a time when people have to actually stand up against the government.” Obviously this statement has little meaning but the anti-government sentiment is there. Trump said that “I like him, I like his spirit, his spunk and the people that are so loyal…I respect him.” To the surprise of nobody, Bundy himself is an avowed Trump supporters.
Mike Huckabee has also spoken out in support of the rancher, saying that “There is something wrong when a government believes that some blades of grass that a cow is eating is so…an egregious affront to the government of the United States that we would literally put a gun in a citizen’s face and threaten to shoot him over it,” grossly misrepresenting the situation – Bundy owed the government a million dollars for refusing to pay the same grazing fees that every rancher in America does, and provoked the armed standoff himself when he called for armed militiamen to come to his ranch.
These men have been nothing but a detriment to our nation; they cry foul at “government overreach” and preventing corporations from privatizing every aspect of our society while scheming to deprive women of their rights to make decisions about their own bodies and to shatter the division of their church and our state; they work relentlessly to deprive our citizens of health insurance and to allow Wall Street to play casino capitalism with our economy. They are an insult to the venerable institution they wish to represent and have no business in the governance of a civilized nation.
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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.