My Facebook feed has been busily taking turns making fun of the Bundy boys up in Oregon and noting the hypocrisy in the situation. Particularly how an actual group of armed men is being treated as opposed to how large groups of unarmed minorities were treated in Ferguson and Baltimore. And I don’t doubt there’s more than a small racial component to all this; all you have to do is compare this situation to what happened to MOVE in Philadelphia in buildings they owned to see it.
But there’s more to it than that. This is the second time this family and their followers have waved their guns in the government’s face, and the second time the government — and the media — have pretty much given them a pass. Nobody’s calling them terrorists, nobody’s even calling them criminals, and even the nicknames like Ya’ll Qaeda and Vanilla ISIS are kid gloves treatment. And the reason is very simple.
To criticize the Bundys is to criticize the American myth.
The very core of our patriotic spirit is the idea that a bunch of farmers grabbed their muskets off the mantle and defeated the most powerful army in the world. The redcoats were coming for their guns, they had to be stopped, and by God, we did. It’s the very foundation of our fanatical devotion to the Second Amendment, the idea that we need to have guns because one day we may need to pull our own Lexington and Concord. And for a lot of people, what the Bundys are doing is the direct spiritual succession to those colonial militias, taking their high powered automatic muskets off the mantle to stand up to an oppressive government. Call them out for terrorists, and you’re cracking the very bedrock of the American story.
And so we see the hands off approach when a bunch of white farmers decide they don’t have to obey the law, and wave their guns around to make that point. Because deep down, we know it’s not too far removed from how this whole country got started. And we can’t let anything cast our very birth in a bad light. Because what would that mean we’ve grown into?