Y'all-Qaeda . . .

I've held off on this post because, well, I think the whole thing is stupid and I'm embarrassed to be a white, male American when stuff like this happens but I have to say at least a little "peace" on the "standoff" at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

There has been much discussion (most in mocking tones) about this non-standoff in the rural northwest but here are a few things that stand out to me:

  1. A number stated to be "about 100" people, claiming to love America so much they wanted to challenge the "tyranny" of its government, invaded a closed wildlife refuge and want you to believe they are "reclaiming" the land.
  2. These people went to Oregon under false pretenses that they were there for a peaceful rally (but they still brought tons of guns and camo with them - but apparently not enough "snacks").
  3. They were "really" there to protest the sentencing/imprisonment of two of their rich, white brothers who plead guilty to arson on federal land and accepted their just punishment.
  4. They set fire to the land, owned by the federal government, that they "lease" for their cattle (and other industries that involve "the land") for a pittance and there are strong overlaps between this group and the "other" Bundy takeover of federal land (in Nevada) in 2014.
  5. The group claims to be peaceful (but there is ample content online of their members posting statements, photos, and videos in direct contradiction) and they claim to hate the government but they are on federal land - illegally - and they use federal land for their livelihood and they want people to send them "care packages" via the US Postal Service (which is, contrary to many's presumptions NOT a part of the federal government but is, instead, a vendor to the government that will never be solvent because of pensions and other financial responsibilities - but that is another post for another day).
  6. The group claimed they would leave if asked - the were, they did not. The group claims to want fairness for all - they don't, they want more benefits for themselves. They group claims to be willing to die for their cause - easy for them to say in a society where white people in rural America can get away with a LOT (unless they are Steven Avery).
  7. Anywho, this is almost over (no thanks to any local, state, or federal government or public outcry) because the group is apparently going to head home (they are, as mentioned, low on snacks). 
  8. But they won't leave without leaving their mark. Fences have been cut, equipment damaged, signage destroyed, buildings violated, securities breached, etc. etc. etc. 
Here's my thing with this . . . who the f*ck do these people think they are? They are not advocating for the fair release of "their" land (fun fact - the federal government owns all that land out west because they "bought" (and by that I mean stole and forced the natives to flea) it from American Indians forever ago. To lease federal land that you are making a strong profit off is fair. To ask it to be just "given back" (the "back" part, for focus) for mining, deforesting, grazing, and otherwise pileging seems nuts.

More over there is a strong, for me, undertone of what is wrong with America in 2016. MUCH of the support of these "patriots" in Oregon comes from so-called "Three Percenters" and "Oath Keepers" are the same misguided men and women who descended on St. Louis when the RESIDENTS of the city walked and protested (and, admittedly (some) violated laws there, too) because of the murder of one of their own (because there were "laws" and there is "order" that needs to be protected, apparently) and they are the same men and women that co-opt the imagery and icons of our shared nation to, largely, promote the interests and legacy of a society where the power has almost always rested with white men.

Sure, sure - there are members of these groups that are women and children (because kids can make informed decisions on their patriotism - if by that you mean what type of juice box is their favorite) and there are minorities (because sometimes life doesn't make sense - much like lower-class Americans who support the agendas of wealthy businessmen in politics). 

I'm disappointed. I'm sad that "we" have decided that this is more funny than scary and upsetting and I'm frustrated that the governments chose to do NOTHING (yes, I get that there is no actual threat and I fear that these people won't even face their due process of law under this great Democracy they claim to love so much they would die for it) while we still live in a country where kids can be shot and killed for mouthing off to a rent-a-cop and some claim it was "justified" and I am sorry to say that, as a white male in America these people are my (sorta) contemporaries.

I, like the III% and Oath Keepers know my American history. I know that this sort of behavior should be in our past and should be scorned. I, like those citizens in Oregon, know it might never actually move in to just our "history".