I had a series of...interesting (read: enraging) conversations with the staff of Sen. Roy Blunt this morning regarding the Bundy ranch standoff. Needless to say, I am only really feigning outrage because I had a feeling about how the senator's staff would respond before I even called.
First I called the senator's DC office. A woman answered and I simply asked her what Sen. Blunt's position is on the standoff. She said he hadn't issued a statement yet, but that the standoff "could have been handled better," to which I responded "by whom?" Amazingly, she said "the BLM could have done a better job of handling this." Seriously? What a stunning thing to say. So I asked her if they were wrong to have been doing their jobs enforcing a valid order from a federal court--she just kept repeating that they could've done a better job. Next I asked about the hundreds of armed militia members who showed up to intimidate the federal agents and defy the federal court's order. She went back to the BLM handling things "better" and refused to condemn the militia members. But guess what? That wasn't close to the worst thing I heard today from employees and agents of a United States senator.
Next, I called Sen. Blunt's KC office and informed the man that answered that I am a constituent of Sen. Blunt's; I also asked what position Sen. Blunt had taken on this standoff. He first noted that Blunt has not issued a statement, but that there were "property rights issues" involved in the standoff. I asked him what he meant by that, and he responded that Bundy's cattle were his property, to which I responded that Bundy's cattle may be his property but they were grazing and fattening themselves on federal land, which is not Bundy's property. The Blunt staffer then tried to argue that there were "issues" regarding the ownership of the land and, once again, property rights were involved.
At this point, I decided to ask this federal government employee and agent of a United States senator whether it was appropriate for hundreds of armed men to show up in force in an attempt to intimidate federal agents and defy a federal judge's lawful order by show of arms. Without flinching, the person answering the phones at a United States senator's office stated, "Well, that's how our country was founded." I was absolutely floored. I asked him, "did you really just compare these militia members to our founding fathers?" He responded, "I didn't say I was comparing them, you said that." I responded by noting that he was the person who had answered my simple, softball question about whether it was okay for heavily armed men, massed in force, to intimidate federal agents by immediately resorting to the founding of the United States. I asked him the question several more times and he would not disavow what the armed men had done in the desert. I noted the presence of sniper rifles held by the militia men, and he said "there were no sniper rifles there." I closed our conversation by asking him if he was an employee of Sen. Blunt, to which he responded that he was; I then said that we are all in very deep trouble when one of the two major parties in this nation supports armed insurrection and the ignoring of a valid court order, and that his answers to me were both pathetic and unacceptable.
My conversations this morning with Sen. Blunt's staffers shook me to the core. Think about it: employees of a United States senator cannot and will not condemn hundreds of armed maniacs showing up to threaten agents of the federal government who were there to enforce a valid federal court's order. Instead, these staffers blamed the federal government for what happened in Nevada. This way danger lies, ladies and gentlemen--if the power of the courts is subject to who has the most guns, the rule of law in this nation is sunk. And when elected United States senators and their staff either side with the gun-toting mob or are too afraid to challenge them, we are in deep shit. I encourage you to contact your representatives to get their thoughts on this matter, and also to contact your local media to follow up on the politicians' views. I think this standoff and "victory" by the crazies is a really big deal that has not gotten nearly enough discussion in the media.