Friday, July 3, 2015

Saints Lyman and Bundy

Saints Lyman and Bundy

Supporters of convicted San Juan County, Utah, Commissioner and land-use protester Phil Lyman have lined up to hand him cash to help out with his defense and fines.  Utah’s Governor Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Cox were first to toss crisp bills in Lyman’s direction.  Contributions to aid someone convicted of a federal crime?  What’s going on?

And Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who hasn’t paid his grazing fees to the government for years, is visited by presidential candidate Rand Paul ( ) who says that they’re “in tune with each other.”

Now, supporters of Lyman have created an organization called the Recapture Institute (, that supports Lyman. And someone has created a T-shirt that shows Lyman alongside Gandhi, Rosa Parks, the Tiananmen Square protester, and Chief Joseph, implying that Lyman is some sort of inspirational leader of significance (  Really?  It’s much more than mere exaggeration, although it was likely done tongue-in-cheek, with an attempt at humor, the kind of silly Utah humor that led the Orem Owlz to schedule Caucasian Night.  A typical case of Utah cluelessness.

Are Bundy and Lyman heroes? 

Some apparently think so.  But who?  Oil company executives, for sure.  The Koch brothers, for instance, whose firm supports western states' efforts to take control of federal lands ( ).  The Kochs surely don’t care where Lyman and his motorhead pals ride their trail machines, but they would certainly rather deal with weak state environmental laws than have to comply with federal regulations that serve to protect the land and the health of our citizens.

Bundy and Lyman are not devils.  They are regular guys trying to get ahead.  Trying to get something that belongs to all of us for themselves.  Bumbling and self-serving, for sure, but not devils. And they, and many others, see the federal government as an obstacle, and worse, as an enemy.  (For instance, see Anne Landman’s piece on anti-government sentiment in western Colorado: ). 

They are, unfortunately, being egged on, with encouragement and piles of tainted cash, by politicians and corporate land users, people who care only about making money, even at the expense of our natural and cultural environment. People and corporations who do not care about environmental destruction and the health of our citizens, who don’t really care about Lyman’s ride on an old dirt road, priceless Anasazi cliff-dwellings, or Bundy’s cows, people who care only about their own profits. 

No, Lyman and Bundy are not saints, heroes, or even devils.  They are pawns.  Dupes.  Little people being painted as leaders by conniving capitalists intent on getting all they can for themselves, and leaving average citizens with nothing but a toxic wasteland to ride their little scooters on, scooters bought from those same corporations that conspired to scorch the earth Lyman and Bundy claim to love.

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