A lot of people are asking about my stance on the Bundy Ranch issue in Clark County, Nevada, where the BLM and citizens recently had a stand-off over cattle grazing rights. Many people are pointing out that Cliven Bundy has not paid his fees to the Federal government, and that may be true, although there are several arguments to both sides of the issue. (I'll put some sources at the bottom of this post).
However, what is not contentious is the atrocious treatment of private citizens by the BLM, the bullying of rural Americans by radical environmentalists and the overwhelming injustice that is Federal monopoly of our public lands.
It seems clear that we've reached a point in our history when private citizens and small-business owners are increasingly forced to make public scenes just to survive. Because of the labyrinth of laws, the convoluted nature of crony capitalism and the politically-motivated restrictions on our ways of life, the West in particular is gasping for air and some folks feel, as Mr. Bundy does, that resistance is the only option.
Here in my hometown of Klamath County, we are seeing a very similar chokehold on water rights, livelihoods and ranches that have been passed down for generations. Seeing politically-correct allies control the water and starve out family farms and ranches is heart-breaking and unjust. As Americans and as country folk, we believe we live in the land of opportunity, and we believe in the power of honest hard work. However, those ideals are slipping away. Will we bequeath an indebted, overgrown and overbearing police state to our children, or a land of freedom, opportunity and open sky?
I support the Bundy Ranch, not because they haven't made mistakes or because their approach has been perfect, but because I think they are a touchstone for a serious debate in American life. I believe the bullying of small-business and rural America by the Federal behemoth has gone on too long. I think we need to demand that our public lands are actually returned to local control, not padlocked by some faraway bureaucracy for a politically-motivated reason. Oregon, let's learn from the Bundys and start standing up for our own forests and land-rights, or the BLM will come knocking on our door, as well. As we've seen, they don't ask nicely.