Ranch Might Have Been US “Tahrir” Square   Leave a comment

Cliven Bundy speaks

I wasn’t available for comment this weekend, but the Bundy Ranch “stand-off” got my attention. I hope it got a whole lot of people’s attention.

Remember, I’m from Alaska. I’ve lived through some of the arbitrary federal rule-making that Mr. Bundy has had to deal with, so my perspective is from experience, not just vague knowledge like some people.

Thirty years ago, Alaska faced a similar show-down and we lost. Miners and homesteaders were told to follow rules that couldn’t be reconciled with good sense. They jumped through hoops. They did the best they could and still it wasn’t enough. It still isn’t enough. Small family mines closed, trappers gave up, farms went fallow. The Yukon River villages went lonesome. Thirty years ago, the only people who cared were other Alaskans and we couldn’t grab a microphone big enough to be heard on the national stage. Mr. Bundy and his neighbors were going through a similar set of circumstances and they got enough attention to get a name — the Sagebrush Rebellion — but not enough to change anything. Here in Alaska Joe Vogler managed to get on the docket to speak before the United Nations … and then was murdered a week before he was to go there.

Liberal presidents, conservative presidents — the wheels of destruction continued rolling forward at varying paces until the Obama Administration ramped up administrative fights into police and military battles. The miners of Eagle faced a similar government brown-shirt raid last year.

This time, though, something happened. The Obama Administration didn’t want to be seen as the American equivalent of Mubarek in Egypt so it backed down. That doesn’t mean the fight is over. It does mean we may finally have reached a tipping point. Instead of Ruby Ridge and Waco, we now have the Bundy Ranch, where for a brief shining moment, the American people made the federal government back down.

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