Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's Just Too Complicated

On Saturday my daughter and I were driving home from Utah after taking the whirlwind tour of her chosen University; my daughter will forever be a Ute.  Driving down from Salt Lake City past the pastoral gardens of central Utah and the greenery of newly sprouted crops of untold variety we finely left this garden of Eden but only after passing the grandeur of the canyon highway just past St. George, a little slip of land that sits in Arizona but creates a meaningful passage from one realm to another.

The deserts and openness that follow the Gorge really do exhibit a stark difference in what was before and what follows.  Not only visually but culturally and geographically as well, the passage from one existence to another might be more appropriate and the gateway as it abruptly ends leaving the traveler with a sense of loss and a sense of excitement as the deserts beyond beckon and gesture with the sheer size of what is ahead, the road goes on, far beyond our ability to see so do the possibilities of life and choice.

Between the gorge and the next city is nothing but land, unused, un-blemished, clean and pure making driving on that single asphalt road an afterthought of the real reason for being there.  Nevada is a beautiful state but near the border of Nevada and Arizona there exist turmoil of significant proportions.  I had read about the problem, the rancher and his claim to the land that the BLM has tried to alter.  The standoff is between what the government claims and their desire to usurp control and the ranchers right to continue grazing his cattle as he and his family have apparently done for generations.

As far as I know these are the facts:  The Rancher, the Clive Bundy family has grazed their cattle on these lands for generations.  The BLM (the bureau of land management) has imposed grazing fees for those using those lands.  Mr. Bundy did not want to pay fees for lands he had been using for years and years and decided he had rights that were grandfathered.  In some ways it’s similar to a path through the back yard of a neighbor that goes unchecked for years and that path eventually turns into a well worn and daily used causeway for the neighborhood.  After 15 years the owner of the property starts to impose restrictions on the users of the path.  I may be wrong but I believe there is a provision of acceptance that creates a use permit that cannot be interrupted by the land owner if nothing was done prior to interrupt the free access of those users….

Our current government is trying to gain more control over what was in the past an open invitation especially for people like Clive Bundy who used the land without charge and without notice of issue or warning.  After years of acceptable use the rules changed and our government expects us to acquiesce and kneel down and pay, giving up our rights of passage as has been accepted for generations.
For Clive Bundy, even deciding to pay the “new” fees abrogates his rights toward land usage and places his age old practice into a new fee structure of permission by payment.  It further degrades his standing making him subject to the new laws, taking the old rights away.

In a similar situation our founding fathers discovered that they were being used and the laws abused with no regard to the past.  New tariffs, new taxes, more restrictions were arbitrarily imposed upon the colonist, making their lives less predictable and the rules of the king only benefiting the king and not the concerns of those who worked hard to achieve success and autonomy within the colonies.  They revolted, they fought and they eventually won the right of self governess. 

The Bundy issue may not be at the same scale but the principle is the same.  There is an oppressive government flexing its muscles and wanting the citizenry to simply acquiesce and give in.  The Bundy’s and his supporters have had enough.  The streets, the hills and canyons around his ranch were covered with private citizens, with guns in a standoff against the BLM police who were also well armed and aiming their assault weapons on their own citizens. 

In a show of solidarity the citizens decided to advance slowly on the BLM position, hoping they would not fire the first shot.  I’m sure it was a very tense and scary proposition to be on the front line moving toward a well armed and trained line of officers.  In the end the BLM faded and let the people have it today, but the real fear is in the future.  Our government as so constituted in this day and age is not one to give in.  Other methods will be found to undermine the peoples stand and force them into compliance.

Bundy and his supporters may have won this battle but the war it seems is only just beginning.  Perhaps through taxes or late night raids Mr. Bundy will be confronted again.  Perhaps with leaked and unsubstantiated claims or an uncovered “news” item liking him to some illicit affair with drugs or …let your imagination wander…I don’t feel as if our government is moral enough not to consider any alternative to bringing this issue to a successful end in their behalf.

Most it seems have lost all faith in the promises of a government who has consistently changed the rules of the game and failed to support the consistent foundations of a free and stable constitution.  Maybe it’s just that I watch too much TV or read too many articles on injustice that my mind is too skewed to rationally believe that good will prevail as long as we work hard, keep our noses clean and obey the rules.  It’s very hard to obey the rules when those rules continue to change.

Too many legislators making rules, too many rules to follow and too many people telling us what to do, it makes doing anything almost impossible.  You may or may not like Donald Rumsfeld but he recently wrote an open letter to the IRS telling them that he and his wife cannot be certain if they were in fact paying the taxes they actually owed and blamed the complex tax code as the problem.  Like Mr. Rumsfeld I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent, that may be a character flaw but regardless of others opinion of my mental capacity I like most others do not understand the current tax rules and therefore have to rely upon others to file my returns. 

It seems that most laws and rules are following suit, becoming complicated and unbelievable wordy with specific requirements for some and changes that preclude other requirements for others depending on their race, eye color, disposition, time of day and the current cycle of some unknown star billions of miles away.  It’s time to simplify and shorten our rules and laws so that everyone can understand.
Like Mr. Bundy we all want to be able to rely upon the promises of the past and go forward with the faith that those rules are the same today as they were yesterday and will continue, unchanged.  But in almost every civilized society the natural trend for government is to obfuscate, complicate, bureaucratize and manipulate so that the few who govern can continue to govern and control.  This is not a nation of the people.  This is a nation of the few who use the people to further their own political ambitions. 

I may not have a herd of cattle nor followers to assist my cause but I do understand the severity of the minutia amassed against us to keep us from fighting in mass. We need to stand as one against the obvious tyranny of our current leaders before they confiscate our lives in total through the use of some new and obscure rule made just for that purpose…Fight on…