Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management is a story for the ages. A man, under controversial circumstances, is having his land and cattle taken from him by armed agents of the government and he’s being defended by armed citizens from around the country who flocked to the desert his land is surrounded by to keep it from happening. Many called it the “possible opening of the next revolutionary war,” and both the left and right used the story for their own political gain.
The right wingers immediately rallied behind Bundy (mostly) because here was a an individual whose government was becoming confiscatory and hurting a landowner in the name of a turtle. The left wingers, aided by the mainstream media, portrayed Bundy as a typical right wing wacko moocher who hated our beloved black President and was throwing a tantrum.
For awhile, the story just went back and forth with accusations, speculation, and breathless reporting (from the outlets that bothered to mention it) on each day’s events. Then it happened. The inevitable charges of racism, backed by statements that were made in the past and not disavowed today.
Now, all of a sudden, every media outlet is very interested in Cliven Bundy. They have their angle: Cliven Bundy is a racist, so clearly the BLM has every right and duty to do what they’re doing.
Wait, how does that work?
And the news media is pursuing every person who defended Bundy and his right to keep the land he’s on and asking for retractions, while spineless sniveling snots have mostly started distancing themselves from Bundy simply because he may harbor racist views, as if being a racist suddenly means that the government can do whatever they want to you and take whatever they want from you.
How does that work?
Some politicians that got behind Bundy have completely disavowed him or gone off the radar (proving that there is a time when an elected official won’t get in front of a microphone), but some, like Rand Paul, have made it a point to note that his views on race aside, he still defends his right to his property and livelihood. It really is that simple when you look at it beyond the “let’s see how racist he is.”
That’s exactly the point.
In 1977, the National Socialist Party of America wanted to march through Skokie Illinois wearing nazi regalia. The mostly Jewish town argued that they should not be allowed to wear the Nazi symbols if they were going to march because it would incite the town. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court who, basically, told the town that they would have to do better if they were going to argue that the march would be dangerous. Eventually, Skokie was unable to prove to the Illinois Supreme Court that they could curtail the first amendment, and they were allowed to march. The march never did happen because an earlier legal argument with Cook County resulted in them being allowed to march in Chicago.
It would be silly to argue that the court protected Nazis. They protected the right to free speech because no matter how much of a scumbag you are, you’re entitled to it.
Somehow we’ve lost sight of the idea that bad things can happen to people we disagree with. Cliven Bundy could be the biggest most racist scumbag on the planet, but this argument over his land and cattle has not nor should it be about his personal views on race. The media is falling over itself to argue that Bundy is now a problem for Republicans (mostly) and right-wing pundits who supported him and his cause because he has racist views.
Actually, no. It’s not a problem for them, but it’s evidence of how disconnected the people who think we should all rally against Bundy are from reality.
Let me throw the anti-Bundy crowd a bone here. For the sake of argument, let’s just say Bundy is the worst most evil racist scumbag ever to walk the face of the earth and his hatred of black people dominates his every thought. Does that then mean that the federal government should be allowed to kidnap and kill has cattle and repossess his land because a turtle might be harmed? Does that mean that he has no right to defend his property and his livelihood?
The argument from the Bundy haters would appear to be “yes, because he’s a bad person” even though as time goes on it has become abundantly clear that his comments were nowhere near as inflammatory or ‘hateful’ as initially reported.
Newsflash: Bad things happening to bad people don’t make them less bad.
The federal government isn’t automatically right in this case because Cliven Bundy is a bad person. He doesn’t give up his right to his land and his cattle because he thinks black people may have been better off during slavery (as is claimed by the people who are touting this audio). This is an absolute.
Any argument about the Bundy story should be on the merits of the case, alone, not on his personal views. As of right now, it would seem that many people want to drag his personal views in so as to justify what the federal government has done and to discredit anyone who defended him, which is ironic because many of the same people doing that are the ones that accused right-wingers of using Bundy for “political reasons.”
To hell with Bundy’s views. They simply don’t matter. It’s important to note the bootlicking government lapdogs who think they do because those people, not Cliven Bundy, are the true dangers to this country.
Interesting update, 4.27.14: Here’s a side by side of the full audio versus the part that everyone seized on.