John Livingston

Why I support Ammon Bundy

As most of my readers know I was raised in the early years of my life in the home of my Quaker grandparents in Philadelphia. Particularly my grandmother, but also my grandfather had a very strong influence upon my faith, my philosophy of life, and as I reflect in my later life—my politics. My grandparents having lived their entire lives in Philadelphia and Swarthmore Pa, were exposed during their childhoods to abolitionists, people who had participated in The Underground Railroad, and in the case of my grandmother who marched with her mother an early women’s suffragette, leaders who helped pass the 19th Amendment.

My grandfather was a proud member of The Union League. The Union League was a group of businessmen who early on supported Abraham Lincoln’s Senate and then Presidential Campaigns. There were “Union Leagues” in other cities most notably Chicago and San Francisco. Unlike in the other cities, the Union League of Philadelphia was made up mostly of Quaker businessmen and educators.

When my grandfather joined the Union League before the beginning of the twentieth century, one had to take an “Oath” that they had never voted for anyone other than a Republican unless a Republican’s name wasn’t on the ballot. Women were also not allowed to be members of The Union League and they were not allowed to go on the second floor to visit the “Lincoln Library” except on Thanksgiving Day and Easter. The Union League lost famous Supreme Court battles regarding both of those issues in the late 20th Century.

In my adult life I have voted for several Democrats in Virginia State legislative elections. All were leaders in the early days of the modern civil rights movement. All fought segregation and “Jim Crow”still present in the South, at great risk to the safety of themselves and their families. Not all Southern Conservative Democrats were racist segregationist—though some certainly were like Joe Biden’s “close friend” West Virginia Senator and Klan Grand Master Robert Byrd. One such man was John Mackenzie, who I voted for several times before President Nixon appointed him to a Federal Judgeship. His rulings in several significant civil rights cases indirectly played a role in ferreting out the civil and criminal case against Spiro Agnew.

The point of my rather long preamble is that it has been hard for me this election cycle to not “ride for the brand” as my grandfather swore an oath that he had done in his life. In my own 16th District, I have voted for a Democrat twice because he was more conservative according to the IFF Freedom index than several Republicans in leadership positions. After the recent announcement of the “50” so called “mainstream Republicans” who are more in line with their political philosophies with Mitt Romney and the Bush brothers, in supporting Raul Labrador’s opponent, I have decided to support Ammon Bundy for Governor. Thanks to the “fifty” I have counted 23, for the inspiration.

I want to be very clear that I do not think Brad Little is a bad person. He is a good family man. He loves his wife and children and that is a plus today. He has risen from his father’s shoulders and built upon a family business and passed it on to his sons in better shape than he found it. I could probably say the same things about the head of a Chicago crime family, who like Brad Little have used the leverage of legacy to rise to power. Using legacy to build up a family business is very different than using legacy to build up political power because the currency of business is work and productivity. The currency of politics is favor and influence. Transactions in business are transparent to the buyer and the seller. Political transactions—particularly in Idaho are hidden many times behind a diaphanous veil of “faux virtue”.

Over the past 30 years Idaho has become known nationally as one of the most politically “corrupt” States in the country. Even though we have for almost all that time been governed by Republicans at all levels of government, those Republicans have created a “servo loop” of corruption and tribute where our politicians answer first to special interest lobbyists like IACI, IMA,IHA, IEA, and only at election time do they pretend to listen to WE THE PEOPLE. The proof of the “political pudding” is the lack of engagement and the disrespect for the political bargain that Mr. Little and several other Republicans—including conservatives who lost in Statewide primaries, had in refusing to publicly debate issues that are important to all Idahoans irrespective of party affiliation. That singular disrespect for process and for the people will always lead me not to vote for a politician exercising such political hubris and disdain for the very people whose vote they are asking for. The very least you can do Mr./Mrs./Ms. Politician is show some respect for the people you may be given the “duty” to represent. Duty is a two-way street.

Ammon Bundy has been fighting the political “head-winds” his entire campaign. The media, The Republican establishment—are they not joined at the hip(?), have been running a negative campaign against Mr. Bundy from the beginning. Mr. Bundy has been honest and open about his past dealings with the Federal Government. Few people even know today that he has been found not guilty of his Federal Crimes—all of them. I find it ironic that those who argue about his confrontations with law enforcement forget that every person who signed our Declaration of Independence was indicted for the crime of Treason. Like Ammon’s family several had their properties confiscated in the name of “The King” and for the reason of “civil justice”.

I have not agreed with several of the tactics that Mr. Bundy has deployed. He has been unable to walk away from confrontation, when sometimes the tactical situation demands a retreat, to fulfill a strategic objective. Retreat can often be an offensive maneuver—in politics and war. In every case he was supporting a person or cause who he perceived was being compromised and in need. He sometimes was punching up, and he let his opponents and their media sycophants punch down. His conservative principles and support for law enforcement and First and Second Amendment protections suffered because of needless confrontations with law enforcement—much to many in the law enforcement community’s dismay and disappointment.

Finally his allegiance to the Tenth Amendment Principles that for so many years were championed by Butch Otter, and that were thrown under the political bridge of corrupt cronyism during the “political pandemic” by Brad Little who closed down schools, businesses, and kept an ongoing Executive Order in place so large hospital systems and pharmaceutical companies who contributed to many political campaigns could realize large profits at the expense of patient care. In case anyone has forgotten what the 10th Amendment to Our Constitution states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Those words for me are why I am supporting Ammon Bundy. For all his faults and his several missteps, he has always respected and engaged the people whose vote he is asking for. He has run a brilliant campaign. He is not beholding to any special interest. He is not a legacy politician. Most importantly he is not ashamed to say that he loves God, loves his country, and loves The Constitution.

Go Ammon Bundy. As Winston Churchill once said: “Never-never give in!”

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