Bundy ranch: Victory for the people

By Barry Farber

At last the weakness of this administration gives us a lot of pride and joy. Those of us watching the unfolding “cattle revolt” didn’t know whether we were in for another “Ruby Ridge,” another Tiananmen Square massacre or something else entirely. Some feared civil war. I don’t know anybody who expected such a quick capitulation by the feds.

Move over Russia, Iran, Syria and all the rest. You’re no longer the only ones learning to live with an America in withdrawal. Who knew the “red lines” stretched all the way to Nevada? And who would have guessed the feds would fold – at least for the time being – so abruptly and with so little effort to spin the defeat away or disguise it as something else?

Remember the little girl who charmed the whole nation during the Vietnam War by asking her father, “What if they gave a war and nobody showed up?” You’re grown up now, Baby. The new question is, “What if they gave a war and everybody showed up, on both sides, fully armed – and nobody fired a shot?” It’s not a good idea to write great gambling stories before the roulette wheel quits turning, but there are several ways to look at all this without delay.

This is a tremendous victory for The People! The Bureau of Land Management must have thought that American apathy, timidity and passivity (a subject given masterful treatment by Stu Tarlowe in his recent well-received column in American Thinker) would bring rancher Cliven Bundy and his family out with their hands up. But when so many volunteers sped to the “front” to stick up for the Bundys, the Bureau of Land Management instantly issued a “Game-Over-We-Lose” statement making mention of the danger to their personnel. Arizona Rep. Kelly Townsend, a tea party Republican, jumped into his car and drove from Phoenix to Bunkerville to join the protest.

One way to look at it all takes us back to the days of patent medicines. A man with liver problems asked his friend if the liver remedy he was selling were really any good. “Any good?” his friend replied. “One customer had a bad liver and took some. He died, but they had to beat his liver with a stick for three days before it quieted down!”

America’s a little like that. Despite all the decline and self-inflicted humiliation, America is still “exceptional.” We’re not yet quieted down.

Are we being a bit quick to dash to Cliven Bundy’s defense without stopping to consider the feds’ charge that he’s an outlaw who’s been letting his cattle graze on that land illegally for more than 20 years? Yes, but Bundy’s family has been doing that since the 1800s, and he’s the last of 52 ranchers in Clark County – and the tactics of the BLM were worse than boorish, so my conscience can handle it all until we know a lot more about the legalities at play here.

Those of us who complain about the increasing weakening of America do so on grounds that such a stance turns neutrals into would-be adversaries and would-be adversaries into active enemies. Our weakness emboldens the bad guys. Aren’t we concerned that such a quick cave-in by the feds might embolden all kinds of people in America to defy the law in hopes that anti-fed “patriots” will carry the day, as they did for Bundy? I’ll violate grammar here, but not accuracy: This Cattle Revolt is “so unique” that I don’t fear significant attempts by opportunistic lawbreakers to piggyback on Bundy’s example.

There’s a bewildering excess of email warnings from those far to the right that, “Obama is arming and militarizing almost every bureau of the government, buying billions of bullets, so watch out for martial law or something similar or something worse.”

If the combative stance of the Bureau of Land Management is any indication of the menace coiled up therein, then I borrow a line from George W. Bush, “Bring it on!”

While acknowledging the risks at play here, I feel the short-but-rich history of the Cattle Revolt turns tired blood into sparkling burgundy. I’m relieved the feds folded.

If you were to hit me with a really horrible question, such as, “Is there any Nazi in World War II you’d like to shake hands with and congratulate?” I’d say, “Yes!” German Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz was in charge of Paris while the Germans owned it. Hitler ordered him to set Paris ablaze as the Allies approached. Von Choltitz refused. While Hitler was screaming “Brennt Paris?” (“Is Paris burning?”) von Choltitz ignored orders and saved the “City of Light.”

I’m almost afraid to ask, but I suspect there are Americans who cynically would have preferred a massacre in Bunkerville, so long as none of their loved ones were involved! I want to thank and congratulate the quick-capitulators at Bunkerville for eliminating the terrible human price that might have been paid had they persisted.

As the wise Irish teach us, better to be a coward for a minute, than to be dead for the rest of your life.

Media wishing to interview Barry Farber, please contact [email protected].

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