Why 2014 Mid-Term Elections Matter
The Latest Right Wing Outrage Chapter

Perhaps you, like me, don’t quite understand what all the outrage is over the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) actions against Cliven Bundy who was grazing his cows on Federal lands for twenty years and neglected to pay the required government fees.   I mean at all the National Parks I’ve visited I’ve had to pony up a fee just to get in and as far as I can recall the fee didn’t cover any edibles.  But, of course, it’s virtually impossible to predict where the Tea Party and Right Winger’s focus will be on any given issue on any given day.  

The Feds rounded up about 400 of the Bundy's cows and herded them off which activity generating about 1,000 “Constitutional Rights” demonstrators and militia members.   They have since been returned. (The cows. I’m assuming the Constitutional Blatherers returned wherever they came from too.)   But Bundy claims that the land isn’t owned by the Federal Government;  in fact, it’s owned by Nevada (or his family) and, therefore, BLM has no right to collect grazing fees.  (Note: nowhere did I read that he sent the State of Nevada a check.   But I might have missed it.) He claims his family has been using this land since 1868 so it rightfully belongs to him.  Squatter’s rights let’s assume, you know, just like urban squatters in London or New York City. 

There are rules about using Federal land for grazing purposes and from my limited knowledge of this whole business such arrangements are the norm throughout the West. This is what the West is famous for – vast open spaces with not a whole lot of population density.   Also, the wild and wooly West is no stranger either to robust disputes between ranchers and the BLM and the National Park Service; they’ve been a continual part of the landscape for a couple of hundred years.  

Now in layman’s terms, if you’ve been grazing your cows on Federally controlled land for over twenty years without paying the required fees and the Feds have taken notice of the situation, sued you in court, won judgments against you twice (including an injunction) it seems to me that you pretty much don’t have of a case.  To my limited way of thinking isn’t this the same as having your car repossessed for not making your car loan payments?  Of course this is typically a private sector operation so I guess that’s OK with the Tea Party and the Operation Mutual Aid militia.  Well, at least I haven’t seen anything of late about protests against automobile repossessions (or home foreclosures.) But I could have missed it.      

The protestors, some armed, were all a-blather about free speech, Fascist government, shredding the Constitution, being forced into Free Speech zones,  (the usual, in other words.)   The incident has been compared to Waco and Ruby Ridge by our right wing media, dubbing it Waco II and Ruby Ridge Redux.  But it isn’t. Not even close.   In reality it’s about paying fees due the Government, like our taxes every year.  But to the right wingers out there on the Nevada plains you would think that Blue Helmeted Strom Troopers were in the process of rounding up not only the cows for slaughter but the protestors too.

And therein – this irrational, bloated and overzealous response to a rational, lawful activity by the government - lies the dangerous outcome that our good friends – Conservatives, Right Wingers, Tea Baggers - are leading all of us into.   Whether they know it or not they have adopted the very same tactics that Hitler’s National Socialist Party adopted in pre-war Germany.  To wit: select a target that everyone easily recognizes, demonize that entity by every means possible, spread lies and propaganda by every means available and eventually you will convince the populace that, in fact, the target you’ve chosen is the cause of all the people’s ills.  Jews were the original target in Nazi Germany (and it worked) and it’s the Feds – or Obama, take your pick -  here in the US today (and it seems to be working here).

The Tea Party and their minions are engaged in a holy war, a crusade or jihad if you will, to impose its will on the rest of America. Remember Tea Party members represent a small percentage of the voting public and only 22% of that public supports their policies.  It was during the summer of 2009 when Congressmen and Congresswoman convened community meetings all across the country to discuss the impending Affordable Care Act that the spectre of Tea Party Fascism raised its ugly head.  I’ve conducted literally thousands of public meetings in my professional life so I’m no stranger to being cussed at, dissed and otherwise treated with disdain and disrespect in such gatherings.  But the Tea Party activists weren’t just dissing the speakers – this included anyone in audience after audience who dared speak in terms other than “massive government takeover” “dictatorial overreach” “socialist enslavement.”  No.  What they were doing was preventing people from speaking.   Period.  And these are the folks who are ALL about freedom of speech.  (Irony, I’ve found, is not a strong point among the right wing.) Watching the proceedings I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the rational folks who kept trying to ask questions of their Congressperson or make statements but were unable to due to Tea Party bullying.  In many instances the disruptions and disorder became so chaotic the Congressperson simply closed the meetings down.  I was shocked. I literally could not believe what I was seeing.  I remember thinking at the time. four years ago,  “But this is not Nazi Germany.”  At least not yet. 

Sure, one expects the KKK or Westboro Baptist Church or the White People’s Only Party to engage in such strong arm tactics.  We expect nothing from this brand of extremist organization but radical fanaticism. But the Tea Party is an allegedly serious political movement steeped in the democratic traditions of Americana including – we hear it often – free speech rather than some quasi-terrorist organization.  But they demonstrated for me those summer days in meeting after meeting that there was scant difference between their tactics and Hitler’s Brown Shirts taking to the streets harassing Jews and burning books.  The tactics used in Germany were government sponsored and led to the extermination of 6 million Jews, gays, artists, Gypsies, the disabled and mentally ill people.   Somehow to the Tea Partiers the BLM confiscating a rancher’s cattle for non-payment of bills for 20 years raises to the same level of government evil, coercion and oppression.  

I’ve seen nothing since the summer of 2009 to dissuade me from my initial “Fascism” observation and in fact the shutdown of the Federal Government only reinforced my conclusion.   The Tea Party and their minions in Congress and elsewhere (the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, GPS e.g.) are trashing America, are re-defining who qualifies for the rights afforded to all Americans by the Constitution and have engaged in tactics that would be right at home in Joseph Goebbels circle of friends.  The parallels in demonizing the Federal Government (read: Jews), by engaging in lawlessness against representatives of the Federal Government (read: Jews), by attacking anyone who dares counter their Fascist rhetoric and intimidating tactics (read: Jews and Jewish sympathizers) are profoundly disturbing.  The Tea Party bullies and their uber-rich funders are engaged in a propaganda war that would make Goebbels proud. Never forget that Hitler did not come to power though a coup; he and his National Socialist Party cohorts were elected by the German people.   And the rest is history.  A history that must not be repeated. 

The Tea Party, in their self-righteous, evangelical and dangerous crusade seems blissfully unaware of the real danger they themselves present in their religious zeal to the integrity of our democratic institutions.  I suppose when Federal Troops or the National Guard are finally called out to shut down their lawlessness, will they get it?  Will they understand that they have overreached?  And it won’t necessarily be that “demon” of a President who currently occupies the White House who will be forced to take action against them if they continue in their holy quest.   Even if it takes armaments, as it surely will.  But it will be someone.  Unless the Tea Party’s lawless jihad is stopped (the 2014 midterm elections are the event they see as the Rubicon of their venture) we are going to wind up at some mile marker along the “Pathway to Fascism” just as Germany did between 1929 and 1933 when the National Socialist Party came to power and Hitler was named Chancellor.  And then the horror was unleashed.     


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