Cliven Bundy's Forces Have Laid Siege to the Local Community: What Would Happen if an Armed Black "Militia" Decided to Harass a Town Full of White People?
Democrat Congressman Stephen Horsford, who happens to be African-American, has requested that local law enforcement intervene and stop Bundy's armed hooligans from causing mayhem in and around Bunkerville, Nevada.
I offer the obvious counter-factual: what if a white Republican congressman wrote an open letter to local law enforcement demanding that they do their jobs and stop a group of black or brown insurrectionists from brandishing weapons, setting up checkpoints on public roads, and harassing white people?
Moreover, if Fox News and the Right-wing media were laid out on their collective fainting couch by two members of a group called "The New Black Panthers", they whose "crime" was having the temerity to stand outside of a polling area while holding sticks and looking "mean", what madness would ensue if Bundy and his brigands were people of color (or even white "liberals" or "progressives")?
The feeble response by the federal and state government to Cliven Bundy's welfare king revolt is both fascinating and important because it is one more example of how white skin privilege, Right-wing populist authoritarianism, conservatism, and white supremacy have helped to create a protected class of people in the United States.
Privilege consists of all those day-to-day things that a given person does not have to think about.
In the context of Cliven Bundy and the rise of the White Right in the Age of Obama, white privilege consists of the freedom for white conservative protesters and militia members to point guns at federal law enforcement agents--and to do so with the reasonable expectation that you will not be shot dead.
Moreover, if said white conservative was shot dead for brandishing a weapon and/or threatening the life of a federal law enforcement agent, white privilege almost guarantees that they will become a martyr and hero for movement conservatism.
White men like Cliven Bundy and his ilk can commit acts of domestic terrorism, shoot up schools, or openly defy the legitimacy and authority of the country's first black President (and Attorney General--this latter point is central and critical to the White Right's histrionics in the Age of Obama) and there will be no national discussion about Whiteness and White Masculinity. Why? They are just individual outliers who in the (white) popular imagination tell us nothing about "the ways of white folks".
Like Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi mind trick in Star Wars: A New Hope, in such instances, Whiteness tells its owners and adherents that "there is nothing to see here, move along".
Local law enforcement in the United States are heavily militarized. This had led to the abuse of citizens, murder, illegal and unlawful invasions of privacy, and excessive force in black and brown, as well as poor white communities. Consequently, the local and state police in Nevada should be able to neutralize Cliven Bundy's thugs with relative ease.
What if Bundy's "patriots" were part of a larger movement that succeeded in taking over a town, city, or region?
Drawing on operational doctrines and Pentagon war plans, Small Wars Journal explored how the United States military would navigate the political and legal challenges of putting down a domestic revolt.
Cliven Bundy's antics, and those of the broader White Right in the Age of Obama, reveals the prescient nature of the scenario explored in "Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A Vision of the Future":
In May 2016 an extremist militia motivated by the goals of the “tea party” movement takes over the government of Darlington, South Carolina, occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council, and placing the mayor under house arrest. Activists remove the chief of police and either disarm local police and county sheriff departments or discourage them from interfering. In truth, this is hardly necessary. Many law enforcement officials already are sympathetic to the tea party’s agenda, know many of the people involved, and have made clear they will not challenge the takeover. The militia members are organized and have a relatively well thought-out plan of action.
With Darlington under their control, militia members quickly move beyond the city limits to establish “check points” – in reality, something more like choke points -- on major transportation lines. Traffic on I-95, the East Coast’s main north-south artery; I-20; and commercial and passenger rail lines are stopped and searched, allegedly for “illegal aliens.” Citizens who complain are immediately detained. Activists also collect “tolls” from drivers, ostensibly to maintain public schools and various city and county programs, but evidence suggests the money is actually going toward quickly increasing stores of heavy weapons and ammunition. They also take over the town web site and use social media sites to get their message out unrestricted.