(Stephen Allott) – By now, the entire nation will be aware of the dispute between Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management. The ongoing feud finally and inevitably erupted, becoming a national story while raising a host of issues in its wake.
An arguable case can be made for both sides. The pros and cons of who is right and who is wrong are debatable and no doubt will be discussed at length in the ensuing months.
But, what surely cannot be subject to debate is the conduct of the Senior Senator of Nevada, Harry Reid.
Senator Reid, as the Senate Majority Leader, and being from Nevada was in a unique position to defuse a highly volatile situation. He is a senior member of the US Government with immediate access to the heads of all the government agencies. Concurrently, he is obligated to address the concerns of all the residents of Nevada whom he purports to represent.
As the battle between the ranchers and their supporters and staff from the BLM escalated to fever pitch during the week of April 5 through April 11th, the situation cried out for leadership, and screamed for intervention from someone in a position to alleviate the tensions.
Yet, not a sound came from Senator Reid’s office. The silence was deafening.
Senator Reid elected not to attempt to resolve the issue. He chose to subsequently appear in an interview – with a sympathetic interviewer – to describe the rancher and his supporters as ‘domestic terrorists’. This was no slip of the tongue. Senator Reid repeated his assertion and once more for good measure. He meant precisely what he proffered.
The US Senate is repeatedly referred to as the ‘world’s greatest deliberative body’. It is where the public is entitled to expect decorum, rational debate, and the voice of reason to reign supreme. It is certainly the spirit to which its members should aspire.
Notwithstanding, we have unfortunately come to accept the unsavory comments from the majority leader. His penchant for issuing divisive comments instead of offering solutions to unify a divided and increasingly angry electorate is becoming more apparent. (Indeed, his recent comments calling citizens liars who ‘falsely’ claimed their health insurance premiums had increased was ill-advised at best.)
His latest comments on the Bundy situation fanned the flames of an already incendiary and inflammatory situation and accomplished nothing in the way of bringing the two sides together or offer any real constructive resolutions.
Nevada residents deserve a leader who is solution oriented and not one who adopts divisive measures with such mean-spirited, hateful, and outrageous characterizations.
Hopefully, the entire Nevada delegation to Congress will repudiate the Senator’s remarks. Furthermore, the Nevada Democrat Party and its congressional members, Dina Titus and Steven Horsford, should also publicly disavow such statements.
The word ‘terrorism’, given its odious connotations, and heinous memories of the relatively recent past, should be used sparingly and judiciously, and not as a method of disparaging, with such reckless regard, a fellow United States citizen.
Nevada residents would do well to remember such conduct in 2016.