"The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." ~ Terry Tempest Williams
It’s a jungle out here in the West where the states are square and oftentimes trapezoidal. White men, it seems, have just about had enough. Not only are the Feds coming after their guns, but also they have shown blatant disrespect by not invading the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge buildings currently under their control in southeastern Oregon.
Some in the militia elements rallying around the flag in those parts feel that the adobe-style bricks they’ve been fashioning out of old Ted Nugent records have reinforced the structures to the point where even drone attacks would prove ineffective.
Those on the outside looking in, however, point out that the historical lack of depth in such materials would serve to offer little more protection than that of a 5X-Beaver Stetson, which, obviously and collectively, hasn’t done much to preserve the cognitive centers of those in question.
Now you really can’t blame these white males for feeling left out. It’s all been going downhill for them since they had to give up their slaves and, in recent times, stand in utter disbelief as women, forgetting their place in the pecking order, were allowed to have say over their lives.
Then the damn liberal environmentalists with their crackpot climatology and carbon footprint heresies began taking potshots at their God (a Caucasian in good standing with the NRA, by the way). Nuff’s enough! A stand has got to be taken somewhere and why not on the stomping grounds of the obviously "leftist" nesting riparian passerine, the "bobolink" (Dolichonyx oryzivorus).
Obviously, the 15 minutes of fame garnered by the Cliven Bundy bunch when their actions caused the Feds to stand down during a cattle grazing dispute back in 2014 has not been enough. These are true "patriots" and, not unlike those costumed performers on "The Price is Right," they have an intrinsic need to "come on down."
Who knows where this is heading. It could get ugly, I suppose. I really don’t see the FBI allowing the occupation to go on into the distant future. But then again, as Cliven’s son Ammon has repeatedly stated, "We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely!"
Whatever! As of now, it seems resolution has missed its flight. The "galoots" packing heat over on the Refuge seem to be talking themselves in to a corner, which, no doubt, is exactly what they want. In their minds, going down in flames would make them just the kind of rallying point those on the far-right fence require to get involved.
Remember, they’re out to save not only our bacon, but our Constitution as well. To hear them tell it, it’s in dire straits and in need of proper interpretation. Those who would like to see them forcibly removed, however, seem to have an interpretation or two of their own they would like to see considered.
One of my favorites is for the Feds to declare an open hunting season on range cattle on whatever public lands are being contested. Another is to build a fence or even a Trump-wall around the Refuge Headquarters with no allowance for either entry or egress. Of course, that would play right into their siege mentality.
They are a peaceful lot, they say. No violence of any kind is being considered. Unless, of course, attempts are made to dislodge them from their holy mission. Then all bets are off and their own private Jihad is on. Oh no! I drew a comparison between them and ISIS, didn’t I? There’s no call for that. Is there? I suppose that depends on how it all plays out.
Could you imagine how quickly this would have been put down if it had followed a protest by any of a number of minority groups seeking redress. Recall Alcatraz? Or Wounded Knee?
In the meantime, the Feds see no imminent threat. No hostages. No blood spilled. Nothing but rhetoric. They watch the situation through thick lenses from afar. The paradigm seems itchin’ to shift, however. A reckoning looms!
I must admit that these "militia" do look pretty cool in their quasi-Seal Team 6 cowboy get-ups as they smugly parade before the cameras. Hopefully, they, and we, won’t get an opportunity for a true comparison.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.
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Skier, mountaineer, environmental activist and Park City resident Caroline Gleich writes that Andy Beerman’s commitment to the climate is vital to Park City’s future.