Then let us meet them like necessities

Peace now reigns at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, an uneasy one to be sure. Even the wildlife are cowed now that jackbooted authority again bars cattle and loggers from the land. If we are not free to have our livestock consume the land cover or to fell the timber that blocks the sky, then how can we call ourselves freemen? All true lovers of the human spirit know that vistas of land scarred by strip mining, land denuded of forest and herds of cattle destroying the ecosystem only means one thing: Libertas!

But it was not to be, Yesterday the final four Catos surrendered to doleful tyrrany. Yes, unlike Cato they decided that living without freedom was still bettr than not living at all, but still we can see the integrity, the moral clarity and the resolve of Cato in each one of them.

Now that it i over we have nothing to do but sit upon the ground and tell sad stories on the death of freedom. And perhaps the brief (five weeks) glimmer of things that could be might inspire us to gird up our loins again to again engage in apocalyptic warfare with the infernal powers which snuff out the human spirit. But first, we should take stalk to see what lessons we can learn from this latest, noble undertaking to preserve freedom and dignity for our children and grandchildren.

1. Carefully pick the site of the contemplated coup de main

Over the past quarter of millennium, since the Third Estate proclaimed itself the National Assembly on that famed tennis court, the examples of uprising, coup, revolt, putsch, golpe de estado, pronunciamiento, general strike, political hostage taking and other demonstrations of force for political means have been countless—because those loving freedom must constantly innovate. But in all that great annal, never before had the revolutionaries chosen to begin their action by taking over a bird sanctuary. In the twentieth century the sites targeted generally were either a strategic target (a military barracks or arms cache) or the communications system (a radio station or command-and-control center).

The cynic scoffed, as he always does, and in the end may have been proven right. But why was this so? The sanctuary was the living symbol of the contradictions at the heart of the beast which is the modern state. Claiming to protect the animals, the state erected fences around the place. But that was mere pretense. Animals don’t need fences for safety; they are more freedom-loving than we are. As for men, didn’t Robert Frost say:

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.

That something is the human yearning to be free, something the Progressive thug Theodore Roosevelt well knew when he seized the land from the loggers and ranchers and strip miners who could have denuded it and moved on leaving freedom in its wake.

But alas the symbolism was not enough. It was too remote. The freedom fighters throughout the world who clamored to join them were too far away to lend a hand. Horses, the natural transport of those yearning to be free, could not assemble a critical mass of fighters in the five weeks the ocupiers were able to hold out, depending as they did on the U.S. Postal Service to supply them with their necessities, including French vanilla creamer and Marlboro Lights 100. But even under these circumstances, circumstances that tried men’s souls, they were asked to make even more sacrifices. As Sean Anderson explained to the world on the internet stream of the phone call with state assemblywoman Michele Fiore, he was required for several days (at least one) to sleep outside and go without showering. This heartfelt cry makes Valley Forge seem like a child’s summer camp.

In the end, the deprivations proved too much and our three cowboy and one cowgirl heroes were forced to give up.

2. Don’t publicly announce your movements

This lesson is a bitter one to learn because freedom fighters know that the world is looking to them for hope, inspiration and guidance. And it is hard to blame the leaders of the movement for falling into the clever trap laid for them by the tyrannous federal government. The federal guardia civil had lulled the occupiers into a false sense of security by allowing them to go to and fro the bird sanctuary and to receive French vanilla creamer and Marlboro Light 100s without impediment. Who would have thought that when the leaders announced that they would travel the 1-1/2 hours (by car; by horse it takes longer) to a community meeting in John Day, Oregon, the devious forces of human degradation would arrest them? But so it happened. And the head was cut off of the incipient revolution, and, like that, another blow was taken by the human spirit.

Not satisfied with this duplicity, the fiends from Washington, D.C., had another blow up their sleeves. This blow landed on  Cliven Bundy, famed for his principled stand in taking up arms to avoid having to pay $1 million he owed by grzing his catle on land not technically owned by him, and father of two of the Malheur leaders. When it became clear that the FBI intended to move on the four remaining freedom fighters, Cliven Bravely chose to fly to Oregon from Nevada (horses being too slow for the purpose) to prevent the inevitable loss of life that would result from his absence. And like any free man, he let the world know it. But craven cowards that they are, the Feds arrested him at Portland airport, just as he deplaned. The Feds knew that he would be without his trusted rifle because he was not permitted to board with it (under the tyrannical rules of the same Federal authority) and so he was forced to submit like a lamb rather than the lion he surely is.

But Cliven is not done by a long shot. He is going to fight. And the first step has already been taken: he has requested the Federal Government to supply him with an attorney. Surely the inherent contradictions in the Federal “system” will be its undoing. Or perhaps not. After all, didn’t William Blake say: “Prisons are built with stones of Law, brothels with bricks of Religion”?

3. Don’t trust the media or the ACLU

The entire string of events, ending in this bitter failure, was the fault, not of the freedom fighters, but of others, or perhaps the stars. The first amendment failed the Bundys when it was most crucial. After all, as was pointed out by one of the fighters on the live stream with Fiore, the Bundys had come to Oregon to protest the jailing of Dwight and Steve Hammond who were imprisoned for the supposed “crime” of setting fire to federal lands. The protest was so clearly right, that anyone would have expected the media to cover it, perhaps make it leading news, perhaps have a nightly show, something like Night Line, until the two were freed. For, after all, if the federal government can jail the Hammond for torching federal land, what next? Perhaps, you my friend, for dumping toxins into a river or selling meat tainted with E. coli! But the media did nothing, except show the protest and comment on it across the country. Such inaction compelled the Bundys to occupy the bird sanctuary.

But that’s not all. As one of the fighters pointed out during the stream “If this were Black Lives Matter the ACLU would be here.” And who among us was able to disagree? After all, when protestors against police killings are threatened with militarized police action, the ACLU is there. When white cowboys with an ill-thought-out agenda take over a bird sanctuary and are allowed undisturbed ingress and egress, where is the ACLU? The double standard beggars the mind.

4. God’s ways are mysterious

That final night, the freedom cowboys sought out the Lord for succor. They had summoned state assembly Michele Fiore from Nevada, a woman so renowned for both her commitment to freedom and the Lord that she forced her extended family to carry firearms for the picture on her family Christmas card (no Seasons Greetings for her). This godly wise woman led them in prayer and understood their deeply held grievances. Like Sean Anderson’s heart-felt jeremiad against the President’s action to require background checks for mental illness as part of a gun sale. He rightly said during the stream that this would allow the government, through Obamacare, to take away guns from depressed people. Oh, if only trenchant grievances like this been allowed to be heard, there would have been a groundswell in support of our heroes.

But this was not their only holy support. Franklin Graham phoned in his support and prayer. Franklin, as you know, is the son of Billy, but unlike his bipartisan father, Franklin has the courage of the Lord to reject all the defilers of righteousness, those insufficiently against homosexuality and Islam, the twin abominations in the eyes of the Lord responsible for all manner of evil from attempts to keep guns out of the schools to subsidized healthcare for the poor. So wisely he left the Republican Party, so that his righteousness could not be questioned.

But even with these twin pillars of holiness, our heroes did what they claimed they never would. Sean Anderson, clearly the brightest of this luminous crew, told Fiore that he would go out like Braveheart. But though she assured him that she was not asking him to give up, after much more discussion, they all finally did. Now, those of little faith might say that she and Franklin were taking the part of the beast, that they were quislilngs who sold out the last freedom lovers willing to ride out the crisis so long as they had French vanilla creamer and Marlboro Light 100s. But those scoffers would be wrong. For we cannot question either the liberty love or the Lord love of either Michele Fiore or Franlkin Graham. No, the answer is simpler: The ways of God are mysterious.

*  *   *

It has been a bad time for freedom. The Confederate flag has been hauled down from the South Carolina statehouse, colleges have been engaged in discussions of sensitivity, the armed forces are installing breast-feeding stations in their bases, and cowboys smoke Marlboro Light 100s rather than the original stick, the one that killed the Marlboro Man. Have we gotten too soft for freedom? Are we unwilling to die to advance an ill-defined set of grievances, without the support of even a small fraction of the country, expressed by semi-literates barely understanding the phrases they use? If that is so, we are all in trouble. The next time, let’s hope it will be different. Let us all stock up on French vanilla creamer and Marlboro Lights 100 so that when we hear the call of the Lord again we can go forth to the next bird sanctuary where we will stay to the end, knowing that if we must die, at least we befoul a bit of the environment for the birds. Just like Braveheart. And there is recompense for this. For although uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, country rubes will be allowed to sleep under the stars the night before they are taken to prison.

 

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  1. February 23rd, 2016
  2. June 16th, 2016

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