The Cliven Bundy Bunch — and the man himself — needs to stop foaming at the mouth; stop creating a terrible caricature of cattle ranchers and go find a hole somewhere to crawl into.
For the sake of every honest, hardworking, clear-thinking cattle rancher out there, let’s hope the Cliven Bundy debacle goes away.
Quickly and quietly.
After a wave of media attention that initially focused on a supposed struggle over “freedom and liberty,” with undertones of militia-type “rebellion” against the federal government, Bundy went completely off the rails last week when a reporter captured him on video spouting some of the most ignorant, bigoted, clueless comments about African-Americans and the history of slavery.
As multiple media sources agreed, you’re not going to do your “cause” any favors when you start off your statement with the words, “[The Negro] abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.”
Those comments, as reported in The New York Times, CNN and plenty of other reputable media outlets, removed any shred of legitimacy from Bundy’s so-called campaign to keep running his cattle on public lands — and not having to pay for the privilege.
Digging into Bundy’s mindset is like pulling apart the subflooring of an old, decrepit house: The more you expose, the more rotten it looks.
As previously noted, the notion that the Bundy Ranch somehow has the “right” to run cattle on public land — without paying anything — just because his family’s been in the business for several generations disrespects every other rancher who does pay the required fees for the use of the range.
So much for any alleged solidarity among his fellow producers that he keeps blabbing about.
And about those grazing fees. While Bundy is bad-mouthing minorities he believes are “living on government subsidies,” he conveniently ignores the fact that taxpayers are providing ranchers a significant subsidy for use of public land that is, in fact, owned by we the people. Compared with typical fees per cow-calf on private rangeland, ranchers using Bureau of Land Management acreage are getting a sweetheart deal — as in, a subsidy.
Bashing the BLM
As for the visceral hatred of BLM the pro-Bundy bunch has been exhibiting, I get it. I spent almost a decade — long before I figured out that operating a keyboard might provide a lengthier career than toting chainsaws and fire hoses around steep, mountainous timberland — working for operators with BLM forestry contracts, and even signing a couple contracts for tree thinning services myself.