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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

DRAWING THE LINES

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- What the Nevada showdown teaches us about the future.

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The showdown last month in Nevada between rancher Clive Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was a genuine flashpoint in our history. On the one side was the federal government as represented by the BLM, and on the other was Bundy joined by fellow ranchers and supporters who have had enough of government intervention in their lives. The BLM was heavily armed, the Bundy side not so much but firearms were present and sharpshooters placed in strategic positions. Neither side wanted to pull the trigger and fortunately it ended peacefully, but it could have easily turned ugly. The government finally backed off fearing another Ruby Ridge or Waco Siege which was a public relations nightmare for the government.

Regardless of which side you supported, the Nevada showdown ultimately teaches us this is a situation likely to be replicated in other government related confrontations. We saw signs of this emerging during last year's Government Shutdown whereby federal parks were closed to the public, including the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. This did not sit well with veterans who defiantly tore down barriers in order to visit the memorial.

What we are witnessing is a strong rebuff of the concept of Big Government as illustrated by the Bundy faction, the veterans visiting the WW2 Memorial, and, of course, the Tea Party. So far, these factions have demonstrated non-violent protests. The fear though is that an armed confrontation will occur and a gun will be discharged thereby triggering another "shot heard around the world," which will be just as significant as the one fired in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Historians are still not certain who pulled the first trigger, but does it really matter? People of opposite ideologues were killed. The same is true today.

The difference is the government is not simply facing some religious zealots with foreign attachments. All are portrayed as hard working, God-fearing patriots who possess a deep-seeded belief in the United States Constitution. To illustrate, before facing the BLM in Nevada, the Bundy contingency stopped to pray for divine guidance, and carried the Stars and Stripes into the fray. The patriots simply believe the federal government has become too big and invasive in the lives of the citizens. Consequently, they are frustrated and feel bound not to tolerate it any longer. Now, using the Nevada showdown as a template, other groups are willing to go face-to-face with the federal government, including the State of Texas and the Oklahoma Militia who is warning the BLM not to use similar tactics in their states. The biggest concern though is whether someone from either side will pull the trigger and cause a bloodbath thereby providing a catalyst for armed insurrection.

Interestingly, media coverage of the Nevada Showdown was spotty at best. Whereas the main street media tended to ignore the standoff, Fox News seemed to be the only television network covering it. In response to the incident, MSNBC described the Bundy group as "insurgents," and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada verbally chastised the Bundy group as "Domestic Terrorists," thereby implanting another wedge between left and right. Now the Senator's credibility has come under scrutiny as to his role in the use of the BLM land. Whichever side you believe, it is immaterial. More importantly, we will likely face another flashpoint between the federal government and its citizens in the not too distant future.

The mood of the country is divided along ideological lines, racial lines, moral lines, and socioeconomics (workers versus people dependent on entitlements). As such, it is the perfect set of circumstances to set off another Bunker Hill, or Bunkerville, Nevada. God help us all if this happens, but it is inevitable.

"Concord Hymn" (1837) - by Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  PENNY WISE, POUND FOOLISH - If you are going to be cheap, be prepared reciprocal measures.

  - What should you do? Forgive or reciprocate?

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