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Carol Anne Costa: Contradictory Conservatism, the New Politics

Thursday, April 17, 2014


As I drop my check in the mail on its way to the Hartford Connecticut IRS Bureau, I always have mixed feelings; I am fortunate, I live in the best country ever, which costs money and taxes are… well, taxes... and frankly no one relishes parting with their money. But, off it went to help pay for the things I do believe in like housing, nutritional support, highways, the military, education, energy, and a little will go to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to maintain the large bundles of land and open space owned and managed by the US government. I am a proud 47-percenter doing my part as an American.

So when the goings on in Mesquite, Nevada started to heat up, I listened. And, holy cow there is a hell of a beef going on. The rancher versus the government, the Stetson adorned Tea Party icon in a standoff with local, state and federal law enforcement or as known in some circles as the “jack booted thugs.” Or as I call them, officers of the law simply doing their job. So when the lines were drawn in the desert sand the so called “conservatives”, separatists, and secessionists emerged camo clad and gun toting from the shadows and encampments. They have happily adopted this man and his cause like a newborn baby and stand ready to protect, reinforce and pay homage to its father Cliven Bundy.

Patriot, Moocher or Law Breaker?

Fully armed and ready to fight the tyrannical government. You know, the tyrannical government which afforded Mr. Bundy every opportunity to prevail in a court case that dates back at least 17 years. The original dispute began in 1993 when Bundy refused to pay bills to the United States government or grazing fees to feed his cattle on the federal lands of the ‘Bunkerville Allotment”. In 1998, by order of the United States District Court- District of Nevada, Bundy was prohibited from grazing his cattle on the land. His defense and theory of the case was rejected by the court and from then on Bundy completely ignored the ruling and continued graze his cattle in trespass without paying fees. The case was pressed on within in the judicial system, all the while tolling grazing fees which were left unpaid to the tune of a million dollars.

Finally, in July of 2013, on a motion for summary judgment before the US District Court-District of Nevada the case came to conclusion with the government prevailing, as the court ruled and ordered in part:

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the United States’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Cliven Bundy’s Motion to Dismiss is DENIED as moot.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Bundy shall remove his livestock from the New Trespass Lands within 45 days of the date hereof, and that the United States is entitled to seize and remove to impound any of Bundy’s cattle that remain in trespass after 45 days of the date hereof.

That seems pretty clear to me. Additionally, in a case which churned through the legal system for 17 years, Mr. Bundy certainty cannot claim he did not get due process. Which brings us back to the beef in the desert being held up by fake conservatives everywhere as government overreach. Please stop, Mr. Bundy has lost his case. Mr. Bundy owes the grazing fees and Mr. Bundy and the fake conservatives are using this as a way to make false proclamations of tyranny. And then the smell of that red meat wafting through the airwaves provides a temptation that cannot be overcome by the opportunistic and disingenuous politicians. They pick up the cause, with loud megaphones in hand hoping and praying to rile up the base. Enter, Mike Huckabee as he weighed in on the Bundy situation stating in part, “Bundy is part of a dying breed of independent cattle ranchers who once populated most of the open spaces of the Western United States. His family harkens back to a simpler time when Americans raised their own food… and before the government had military-style police teams to deal with protesters. When I was growing up, that was something you’d see in Soviet-ruled countries, not the United States.”

Stand down, Governor. Did you notice the armament of the protesters or read the court ruling?

He speaks with forked tongue

Let’s compare the Huckabee’s positions on Bundy versus Immigration. It seems that Governor Huckabee is staunch in his “uphold the law” stance on immigration. In October of 2007 Huckabee stated in part, “We need to make it clear that we will say no to amnesty, and no to sanctuary cities, and no to the idea that there can be some complete ignoring of the fact that our laws have been broken.”

Let’s get this straight, when it comes to people who enter the country illegally the position is; the law, is the law, is the law. But, when it comes to what Huckabee deems a rugged, independent cattle rancher who made and continues to make choices in direct contempt of United States Court rulings and orders, the law is the law… not so much. I did not get the memo that when it comes to rules, if you are a rugged individualist with a long family history you get a pass.

Cherry picking laws are never a solid position rather it is picking sides for political gain and opining outside the rule of law which side has mitigating circumstances and which side does not, sorry it doesn’t work that way. This is merely an attempt to paint the government as tyrannical and overreaching in the face of overwhelming proof of due process. The irony of this entire episode is the utter disrespect and contempt of the rule of law and Constitution that some claim to revere. This is not conservatism it is contradiction.

Bundy had his day in court. He lost. He is now a law breaker and in my view, it is that simple.

Carol Costa is a public relations and community outreach specialist; she has experience in both the public and private sectors. She is the Chairwoman of the Scituate Democratic Town Committee and has extensive community affairs and public relations experience. She previously served in the Rhode Island Judiciary for nearly 17 years. Carol also enjoyed a successful development stint at the Diocese of Providence as Associate Director for Catholic Education and is currently a public housing manager. Her work has been published in several local outlets including GoLocal, Valley Breeze, The Rhode Island Catholic, and Currents Magazine.


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