We recently went back and re-read the Principles of FAPITCA and reflected on the recent episode regarding Mr. Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who has held grazing leases for multiple decades and declined to pay grazing fees despite numerous court orders directing him to do so.
Some media sources have reported on multiple occasions that he does not acknowledge the legitimacy of the United States. Precisely, he was quoted as saying, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing,” in spite of the Nevada constitution’s clause (Article 1, Section 2) agreeing to “paramount allegiance” to the United States. Had certain American politicians, reportedly all of whom are conservative Republicans in this particular case, considered the Principles of FAPITCA, they, their party and our nation would have been better served.
And, perhaps these political figures would have been less embarrassed by other “news” on Mr. Bundy’s views about race in America that emerged since conservative media sources first began stirring this story up.
Of the many values articulated by FAPITCA, simply embracing a respect for the “Rule of Law (and Respect of the Law)” would have been very helpful. By refusing to comply with—
- The laws of Congress (Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 among others),
- Executive branch regulations (43 CFR 4100), and
- Multiple court orders,
Mr. Bundy showed contempt for all three branches of our government and, more importantly, by extension, contempt for the people of United States.
As FAPITCA’s key principles offer, “We think as Americans before acting as Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, etc.” The Senators of Kentucky, Texas, Nevada and other elected officials would have also been well-served to be a bit more “American-centric” before they rushed to defend this individual.
There is nothing “American” about refusing to pay just bills (to the American public) for decades. Politicians’ failure to embrace this principle also likely emboldened numerous other people to come to the defense of this person without regard for the fact that he actually owes all of us these grazing fees. Perhaps even certain reporters for Fox News would have been better served to consider the principles of FAPITCA as well before describing Mr. Bundy’s exploits in such glowing terms.
Some readers may appropriately express concern about the tactics of the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to gather up Mr. Bundy’s cows. We don’t know directly what circumstances led to BLM’s apparently significant show of force, but given that violence had been threatened against the government, and the agency wanted to make sure the operation was conducted without exposing agency personnel to unacceptable risk, BLM’s preparations may have been fitting.
Whether BLM calibrated the size of the operation properly can be debated, but the overall situation offers no excuse or even a remote parallel for the decades of Mr. Bundy’s disregard for the laws of this nation. Had BLM conducted the operation with modest personnel resulting in injured employees, then the agency could have been criticized for underestimating the potential violence of the operation. On the face of it, it appears BLM’s actions were in fact measured and responsible.
The support for Mr. Bundy has now subsided in most quarters due to his remarks concerning race. It is curious that it was “patriotic” to show disregard for all of us and the laws of our nation, but problematic to show disregard for African Americans. We suppose that demonstrates that even the conservative politicians supporting Mr. Bundy wished to avoid being labeled “racists.” Perhaps that should give us a ray of hope that there are limits at least to certain types of political behavior.
We post today’s piece not to point fingers. This blog is about unifying Americans, not adding to the partisan rancor that is harming our nation. Indeed, many conservatives expressed reservations about this situation due to the legal issues involved. As usual, voices of reason received little attention from the media. Likewise, the vast majority of BLM’s client-ranchers pay their grazing fees on time and most probably aren’t terribly sympathetic to Mr. Bundy. No, we simply post this piece to urge our elected officials to proceed with caution and not view every situation as an opportunity to “score political points.” Please think as Americans first.
More than a few politicians and a major media network wound up looking pretty irresponsible at the end of the day. Even Jennifer Rubin’s normally conservative blog substantiated that point recently!
People interested in restoring the voice to the Center should be loath to support candidates who “run to the microphone” in support of extremist causes—right or left. The “edges” would do well to think about this next time such an “opportunity” arises.
Originally posted by Chuck and Carl Hunt, 5/1/2014.