One Law For Thee, Another For Me

As has been happening across ever-widening portions of the blogosphere, we are starting to ask the question “If the government doesn't follow the law, why should we?”

Call it an unintended consequence of the Obama Administration's flouting of the law, be it the refusal of his Attorney General to investigate egregious crimes perpetrated by various government agencies or ignoring cases of widespread voter fraud, or the President himself by setting aside portions of a law that bears his name for political advantage despite not having the power to do so. Even a number of government agencies have descended into breaking the law, going outside their charters or ignoring court decisions (EPA) or targeting political opponents of the President and the Democrats (IRS).

When the government itself ignores the law, then the law (and the government) becomes increasingly irrelevant to the rest of us. This is particularly so for those of us who do not live anywhere near Washington DC, a place that has become so divorced from the realities the rest of us deal with every day.

We're seeing this with the Cliven Bundy brouhaha out in Nevada, where the rancher has declined to pay the Bureau of Land Management for the use of federal lands to graze his cattle.

Is Bundy right to do this? No. Not in the least. But are those who are protesting against what many see as an over-reach by the federal government doing the right thing by backing Bundy in his fight against the increasingly monolithic, less competent, and in the end, less responsible government? Yes.

[We] must realize that in about 1990 we decided to focus on the misdemeanor of the law-abiding citizen and to ignore the felony of the lawbreaker. The former gave law enforcement respect; the latter ignored their authority. The first made or at least did not cost enforcers money; arresting the second began a money-losing odyssey of incarceration, trials, lawyers, appeals, and all the rest.

Mr. Bundy knows that the bullies of the BLM would much rather send a SWAT team after him than after 50 illegal aliens being smuggled by a gun-toting cartel across the southwestern desert. How strange, then, at this late postmodern date, for someone like Bundy on his horse still to be playing the law-breaking maverick Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) in (the David Miller, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Abbey effort) Lonely Are the Brave.

It's easy to go after the little guys because it's cheaper (and less risky) than going after the real criminals. Heaven forbid the government actually spend time, money, and manpower to put the real bad guys in jail. (Then again, seeing how well they pulled off Fast and Furious, maybe it's better that they haven't!) They can still use the SWAT teams and all of the military gear used to outfit them, but they don't have to worry about firefights or casualties (except for civilian casualties) because most little guys won't fight back, at least not with guns, the protesters at the Bundy ranch notwithstanding. (Many were armed, legally, but none made any threatening moves. I guess that makes them domestic terrorists, at least in Harry Reid's eyes.)

As we get closer to the mid-term elections this year and then the Presidential elections in 2016, I expect to see even more of this as it will give the Democrats some “law and order” street cred...unless of course it backfires, as it has with the Bundy case. Then I expect the Democrats will backpedal and try to distance themselves as much as possible. I have no doubt they'll try to lay the blame for any debacles that may come of it at the feet of the GOP, and particularly George W. Bush.