Being Bundy


If you google: Is Cliven Bundy related to…, Google will autocomplete with ‘Ted Bundy.’ Clearly enough people are doing it to set the algorithms atwitter. The answer, by the way, is no; ted Bundy assumed the name of his mother’s husband when he was twelve.

A better question might be: is he related to Al Bundy? It certainly seems plausible. Al spent most of his time not on the job but occupying the sofa of his living room while other people brought him snacks.

I suppose it is wrong to make fun of these folks – the endlessly procreative elder Bundy and his wayward sons who seem to have all the time in the world to takeover a wildlife refuge. Most of the ranchers I know – and I know a few in Alberta – are too busy working their land to take extended leave elsewhere. Half of them are lucky to get away for a couple of days to visit neighbours in the next town over.

But the Bundy’s seem to beg for ridicule. They asked to have snacks and socks sent to them through the mail – an institution of the federal government that goes back to the time of Ben Franklin. I doubt if they are capable of seeing the irony of it all. In fact, viewing the video a young Muslim woman made of the occupiers, they don’t come across as malicious or dangerous or even all that stupid. They come across as naive and confused, defensive and maybe a little bit uninformed.

They certainly don’t seem to understand that public land set aside as a refuge in the time Teddy Roosevelt already belongs to the people. Of course, they don’t mean the actual People writ large when they claim to be taking back land from the government for ‘the people.’ They mean them.

It is equally easy to laugh at Ammon Bundy’s claim to despise the federal government when he has benefited from numerous federally funded programs to support his ranching business. I suppose when they talk about using their own personal money they feel the same way about it that they do about the nature reserve. It’s all mine anyway. Federal grants are just my way of taking back money the government took from ‘the people’.

I get that – I feel the same way about arts grants.

And of course, the allegations of fake marine qualifications, fistfights over misappropriated money (apparently used for a booze up) and all the rest – really makes us wonder if this isn’t all a distraction to keep people thinking too deeply about the other things wrong in America. I get a feeling that one of Trump’s campaign officials is in Oregon for a reason. What it is one can only guess. When it comes to Trump – it’s all a mystery, my friends.

So the Bundy’s manage to drift in and out of our consciousness – pissing off progressives and birders (and there are more of those than belong to the NRA) but, in the end, who cares? Let them stay in those poorly insulated shelters. The winter is long – even in Oregon – and I’m sure that what doesn’t kill them will make them stronger. After all, many are cold but few are frozen.

And that’s ten minutes.


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