Once upon a time, a militia saved our young nation from domestic insurrection, ages before the “Y’All Queda” interest groups cast themselves in false-flags: Saviors of the Constitution.
If you’ve been following the episode in Oregon, you know that the Hammonds were sent to jail by a federal order for setting brush fires on land they were leasing from the American people. Willingly, the Hammonds reported for jail time; yet, in a bizarre twist of events, a group, riding on the coattails of “federal intrigue,” chose the moment to occupy a National Wildlife Refuge in the area.
Again, the Hammonds do not support this move. Yet, members of the anti-government Bundy clan used the timing of a staff holiday to seize the complex and attempt to inspire a larger wave of rebellion.
These pleas were noted with concern among the educated minds of most of America.
Instinctively and logically, ideologically, we knew it was wrong.
A quick googling proved what each of us suspected: the land already belonged to us all. Follow-up showed that these guys weren’t even from Oregon. Further research would show that even the land they were contesting in their home states did not, in fact, belong to them.
Those with great history teachers could add more.
The summer of 1786 and on into 1787, American farmers in multiple states took up arms when threatened with foreclosure on their land. These weren’t just debtors who had overspent; in fact, much of their economic hardship occurred due to a national government that had never paid veterans for service in the American Revolution.
Was the federal government so awful and untrustworthy? No.
A strong fear of monarchy followed the Revolution, so much so that the interim national government had been purposefully formed with very little ability to get things done. Like pay their veterans.
Because of our experience under a pathetic King George III and a ridiculous British Parliament, the people’s initial reaction post-war was to form a confederacy of nations.
In theory, these countries would rally to one another’s defense, yet enjoy the economic fruits of independence.
Though, reality proved otherwise. In no time, these individual nation-states were bickering over trade as well as the prospect that one or more of them might leave the confederation to ally with a foreign power.
So came Daniel Shays: the symbolic leader of domestic insurrection, who showed that it wasn’t only outside risks that might menace all for which we’d fought.
Under him, rebels tried to capture a national arsenal in Springfield, Massachusetts, threatening violence to merchants, bankers, and the law. In opposition, Benjamin Lincoln and the Massachusetts state militia drove them back, repeatedly, forcing them to flee to Rhode Island and Vermont.
In the end, such uprisings proved that the people and the self-interest of their passions could be just as deadly a peril to the whole as any foreign nation.
However, unlike the invalid argument of the Bundys, these veterans did have a point. They truly deserved compensation for their time away from their homes and families. Not only were wages lost, but their very lives might have been, too.
Their cause, though handled through the wrong means, was just. So much so, that one must wonder: Why not just pay the soldiers?
Which brings us back to the then-powerless federal government. For, without a national treasury, that was impossible. Sending money to the capital remained an option for these nation-states; so, naturally, the coffers lay empty. With no budget, the capital at Philadelphia couldn’t fulfill its debt to those who had fought to make our country free.
Such was the atmosphere that finally inspired the convention at Philadelphia.
Much is made of the heat that summer, but surely the statehouse was a metaphorical cauldron of faction and intent, identity and union, from which the greatest die was cast: the framework of the U.S. Constitution. A blueprint crafted to compensate for its early deficits, a document designed to grow with the American people as they evolved.
The brilliance of the Constitution lies not in any single amendment, but in how the parts relate to its whole. A design forged to mediate: tempering the volatility of the people acting at their worst, as well as extinguishing the power of any portion of government growing too strong.
Towers of Babel, whether built by corrupt insurrections or created by demagogues, under the Constitution, will fall: as long as we stay true to the script as a whole.
Which brings us to today, and the occupation of a small building in an Oregon wildlife sanctuary.
Could the event be constructed any better to rest opposite of what the rebels were looking for under the leadership of Shays? Probably not.
First off, these ranchers don’t even own this land. They lease it. They rent from you and me, no matter where you live (because they lease from the national government). On top of that, they receive very generous terms in those contracts, so much so that their rate measures 93% lower than the costs of ranching on private land. For example, in 2012, it cost about $1.35/ month for each cow to graze off federal land, while private landowners charged $20 per head/ month.
Again, ranchers such as the Bundys didn’t buy this land. It belongs, permanently to you and me: whether you are in Alaska, Maine, Arkansas, New Mexico, or Michigan.
As these occupiers sit there, armed and dressed in paramilitary gear, they ask not only for snacks but for land that has never belonged to them anymore than it has belonged to the other 300 million of us.
Seriously, I love the Sierras, but I’m not going to climb a Sequoia, armed with a rifle, and threaten my fellow Americans until I get my own tree; as you wouldn’t go into the Smokies and demand a mountain, nor to the Washington Monument and demand a brick.
Yes. This action is probably a hiccup that hoped it was a heart attack. It will most likely be over by the time I publish this. Yet, that doesn’t make it any less insulting.
At least the veterans of Shays’ Rebellion had fought in the Revolution, then purchased land, rightly feeling their wounds deserved an adequate pension.
The occupiers in Oregon aren’t due government money, nor property. In fact, they owe money on rent that was dirt-cheap to start.
To code words as “American,” to try to deceive, is truly unpatriotic.
And, should no one end up hurt during this entire escapade, such false patriotism stings. These, our fellow Americans. These who would serve themselves by demanding communal land to their benefit. These, draped in our colors, who fly false flags in order to deceive.
They. Not We.
It’s an insult to the American family to ask for that which belongs to all of us.
Wolves in sheep clothing, brandishing high-powered weapons, pretending that the magic words of “Constitution” and “rights” grant wishes of land and money.
These psuedo-patriots walk a thin line.
Already, for seizing our property, they are criminals. Should they fire their weapons, they commit treason.