To the vast majority of Americans, the Bundy Occupation does not “connect.” While people are divided on the occupation, most don’t realize the underlying issue that has compelled these patriots to strike-back at the oppressive government by peacefully re-conquering land that was never the federal government’s to begin with.
For those who dwell in New York brownstones and big-city high-rises, the issue of land is far from their radar. For those living back East, the issue of federally-owned land is virtually non-existent; the federal government holds little control of the land in the East.
Out West, however, it is a different story. Vast areas of land are required to graze the cattle that is consumed by the city-dwellers. America’s agriculture depends on farmers and ranchers having access to land and for hundreds of years, the federal government has maintained an unfair, but working, relationship with citizens of Western states.
More and more, however, the federal government has clamped-down on ranchers and farmers and made it tougher and tougher to make a living. Most galling of all is the fact that the federal government does this while maintaining an abusive relationship with these states.
As PolitiStick has previously reported, Western states are largely “owned” by the federal government. While New York belongs to New Yorkers, Nevada, the Bundys’ home state, belong to the federal government as around 85% of all land in the Silver State is claimed by the feds. Oregon is not much better- roughly 53% of Oregon’s land is claimed by the federal government- a fact that has ground Oregon’s timber-based economy to nub of what it once was.
In fact, the federal government’s heightened rules and regulations that all-but prohibit responsible timber harvesting continues to not only cripple economies, but without the proper forest management provided by the timber industry, wildfires have become much more dangerous as the absence of controlled burns and clear-cutting has made Oregon’s forests one big tinder pile awaiting a spark.
This fact is what compelled the Hammonds to set fire to land in the first place; somebody had to do it. Now, they’re serving five years as domestic terrorists and the Bundy occupiers have simply had enough.
To explain the cause of the occupiers, an Oregon rancher, Keith Nantz, has authored a reasonable and explanative article detailing why the occupation is occurring. Please read and educate those liberal friends who will inevitably utter the phrase, “I just don’t see what the big deal is…”
Check it out:
This week, the Ammon Bundy-led seizure of a federal wildlife refuge thrust Oregon’s ranchers into the spotlight. While I don’t agree with the occupiers’ tactics, I sympathize with their position. Being a rancher was always challenging. And it has become increasingly difficult under the Obama administration.
I grew up in a ranching community in northeast Oregon. Even as a kid, I knew I wanted to be a rancher. After eight years as a firefighter, I’d saved enough to start my own business. I wanted to…