“It has seemed that true democracy has been lost, that we have become a nation whose people have been forgotten amidst the vast institutions of power that govern our lives.”
— Senator Mark O. Hatfield, July 28, 1975, Congressional Record, Senate: pages 25387
“Since when do we have to back our president…..when the president is proposing an unconstitutional act?”
— Senator Wayne Morse regarding the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, 1964
Headlines from around the country reveal the double standards and inconsistencies in news coverage reports of those who engage in “occupations,” protests and protest movements, such as in the “occupations” of Minneapolis and the Mall of America and the current one in a small federal building in Burns, Oregon (population 2,806, the largest town of Harney County, Oregon’s largest county by size):
- “The Oregon standoff exposes America’s double standards”
- “Calling the Oregon protesters ‘occupiers’ instead of ‘terrorists’”
- “Small Oregon town supports ranchers, not occupation”
- “Militant occupation continues in Oregon; sheriff says ‘go home’”
The protest in Oregon is part of a decades-old debate regarding ownership and management of U.S. public lands by locals versus Washington, D.C. The same as in America’s inner cities. White journalism in White towns tries to stay away from the issue and the label of “terrorism.” Before 1680 when the French arrived, the Dakota Sioux were the region’s sole residents. Today, not a word about or from the Sioux Indians, the first occupiers.
We see different standards at work in America today for reporting movements by Whites and those by people of color. Can you imaging the discussion if the Burns occupation were about Red Americans, Black Americans or Brown-skinned brothers of the Middle East and Latin America?
White ranchers see the judge’s judicial bypass of prosecutors to add additional sentencing to already freed White ranchers as an unconstitutional act, putting the ranchers in double jeopardy. The federal government wants the land of the ranchers (it already owns 53 percent of Oregon, with the feds owning 75 percent of Harney County). The locals say the government is leaving millions of trees to rot rather than allow logging and the jobs of economic development.
Hypocrisy regarding justice and fairness in Black inner cities has now leapt to communities, large and small, run by Whites. If 25-35 gun toting Blacks had come over from Portland or up from Los Angeles and disrupted the routines of Burns, everyone from Donald Trump to White militia groups across America would have called for federal military intervention.
This little town of Burns, OR at the junction of State Highway 20 and Federal Interstate 395, is located in as White an area of America as can be. As many in inner cities, they too are raising constitutional questions about the rights of U.S. citizens. The citizens of Burns, Oregon don’t want outside Whites to get in the way of their own protests.
This seizure in Burns, Oregon is by White militia who have challenged the power and authority of the American government before. In fact, Mr. Bundy, the leading outsider, from Nevada, was involved with a standoff with the federal government in 2014 at his ranch in Nevada, carrying out what he called their constitutional right of self-protection. How far would a Black guy from Portland or Los Angeles get using Burns protesters’ arguments to justify the violation and disruption of any beautiful little White town?