Why I Do Not Care About Cliven Bundy

Keep this in mind when considering Cliven Bundy: He is a tiny minority in his home county and his home state. He has no power. James Madison had this part figured out back when writing the Federalist Papers.

The corporate media and the two major parties want you to be outraged about Bundy because it keeps you distracted. Bundy is a lunatic and he adheres to a vile ideology. However, making him into a villain only feeds his martyr narrative.

But Cliven Bundy is not what is the problem with America. Ideological outrage today is as much an opiate of the masses as religion every has been.

Long-term unemployment has not been extended. The minimum wage still needs to be raised. We are still conducting murderous drone strikes in foreign lands.

While we focus on Cliven Bundy, our congressional representatives and Senators (Democrats and Republican alike)…are on the phone with members of the one percent asking them for large donations for their next campaign.

Cliven Bundy is a clown.

But he is not the clown who deserves our outrage, though the other clowns just assume that you focus on Bundy. They are busy.

Categories: Politics

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5 replies »

  1. You really nailed it on the head: ideological outrage is today’s opiate of the masses. It would be funny if it were not so tragic and dangerous.

  2. On the one hand, I find this post extremely insightful. On the other, I’m tempted to ask: How do you gain the prescience necessary to discern what real issues are, and what issues are merely distractions? If you were a Marxist, you could answer that question easily–the most important issues are those dealing with the ownership of the means of production and the way in which capitalism reproduces its productive relations in the political and cultural sphere. You could answer the question analogously if you were a feminist, or even a libertarian. Since you’re none of those things, what do you rely on? Common sense?

    • I am a Rawlsian egalitarian. So I guess something along the lines of basic liberty and economic equality (or a sorts) would frame how I might prioritize issues of significance. I mostly use drone strikes and the minimum wage as examples. Clearly there could be a much longer list. Common sense is a myth in many ways. I am not denying that I am ideological. We are all ideological. I just hope we can be more reflective and open about our own ideological commitments. Bundy has given us an opportunity to evaluate a type of far-right American ideology. But I think that Daily Show take downs of Bundy and Hannity also show a certain banality about American liberalism (broadly defined). I hope to focus more on issues myself. So this post might be more of a wake up call for myself as anything else.

  3. On a national level, yes, Bundy is a clown with no power. And I agree that national news coverage of Bundy distracts from potentially more pressing issues. But on a more localized level, he’s a clown who is incredibly dangerous. If you live in rural communities with people like this, you more acutely feel their presence and influence; their clownish idiocy becomes dangerously intimidating. Bundy disciples are prominent throughout southern Utah, where I have plenty of extended family (many of whom support Bundy I’m sure). The anti-federal government conspiracy theorists of southern Utah have tremendous influence over those communities, and while they might be small minorities in the eyes of the national population, they’re not so small when they’re your neighbors and family. The kind of antics Bundy and his people are up to right now happen all the time, and in quieter, but no less dangerous ways, all the time. A relative of mine who was a maintenance worker for the National Park Service had threats on his life from people in his own LDS ward (one aggressor was even his home teacher), simply because he believed in doing an honest day’s work. My relative is a life-long Republican, who is no huge fan of federal government, but he honored his employer all the same, and for that he was constantly harassed and threatened for it. His aggressors were often co-workers, who seemed to have no problem getting paid by the fed for not doing an honest day’s labor. Hypocrisy everywhere. Those people are no small thing, where you’re the guy they’re threatening and who on more than one occasion ignored safety precautions that endangered your life. These minority people do have power and they can do irreparable damage. The thing about Christ’s teachings is that he doesn’t discount the importance of minorities, but upends the assumption that the little folk aren’t important. He does this so we don’t overlook people we should care about. But it also reminds us of people to be wary of, so seemingly little dangers don’t become large-scale problems. Out of small things, great things come to pass, right? That works both for good and ill. Every uprising and movement for social change that we support and reject started small. The media’s use of Bundy might be deeply suspect and distracting to us, but all the Bundy supporters are watching that coverage and they’re feeling energized by it. They might not be tuned in to what you or I might consider more important social problems. But they’ll keep advocating for the things they think are important, and if we ignore that too long, it will become our problem whether we like it or not. It already is a problem for the people living in those small communities, and those people matter.

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