Rancher Cliven Bundy’s assertion of a right to free pasture for his cattle on federal land reminds me of the assertion by former Idaho legislator Phil Hart of a right to free logs from Idaho state forests to build his cabin. Hart’s constituents responded by voting him out of office.
Bundy’s supporters, including Rep. Matt Shea of Washington’s 4th Legislative District, have rallied around Bundy’s opposition to the federal government’s war on rural America. I was shocked to see a picture on the Web of Bundy’s supporters aiming rifles at federal workers attempting to enforce a lawful court order against Bundy. It reminded me of nothing so much as pictures of armed and masked thugs unlawfully taking over government buildings in Ukraine in the name of the people.
Kudos to The Spokesman-Review for setting out the legal and historical background that demolishes Bundy’s and Shea’s arguments in support of such lawlessness. Although the editorial will fail to convince true believers, hopefully it will cause fair-minded constituents of Shea to conclude that his condoning of illegal acts and potential violence makes him unfit to continue to represent them.