Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Looking at Oregon in a different skin - Race has nothing to do with it

I'm not going to go into the details of the situation in Oregon. Anyone reading this is likely already familiar with it. For those that may not, here are a couple sources on the subject.

My general stance on the situation is that I sympathize and support the Hammond family where I feel it's a pretty clear case of govt abuse of power. However, I am on the fence regarding the protesters/militia. I like that they are supporting the Hammonds and agree with their general animosity of govt overreach. It also feels like the militia protest was largely a publicity stunt to raise awareness of the treatment of the Hammond family. If so, then I'd call it a success (notwithstanding the horrendous misreporting of the situation). However, due to the weapons involved and almost invitation for direct physical conflict, it goes beyond the standard peaceful "sit-in" type of awareness protest or even civil disobedience. I guess my views will become more clarified as we see what they do, what govt does, and how each reacts to the other.

In a broader scope, however, I've seen many who appear antagonistic to this group of protesters and the Hammonds largely due to their race and politics. I've heard people decrying how the reaction and the types of support would be completely different if it was black people or Muslims who had taken over this glorified campgrounds.

So I started thinking ...

Say there was a [Muslim] family - the [Mohammeds]. They have been harassed by govt for years. They get pulled over constantly. The city continues to try to force them to sell their house. They have their taxes audited every year. Prohibited from buying guns. They are placed on and off of the no-fly list. All without any evidence of any real wrongdoing. Then, say the patriarch gets distracted and hits a mailbox with his car. A few years later, his son swerves and runs over a post-office box. They are arrested, charged with "terrorism" (destruction of govt property) and found guilty. Suddenly a large group of [Muslims] comes and sets up in a public parking lot next to the family's home and occupy a pay-for-parking booth. This group is armed and is protesting for the release of the [Mohammed] men and to raise awareness of the govt abuse and harassment of this family. They claim they will resist any attempts to remove them.

While I know this is not an exact parallel to the situation in Oregon, it's fairly close. In such a situation, I, as a libertarian, would feel pretty much exactly the same way about this hypothetical as I do the actual situation. I would sympathize and support the family. I would be on the fence with regard to the protesters.

Now, replace [Muslim] with [black] and [Mohammeds] with [Jacksons] - and I'd again have the same view.

This, at least for me, has absolutely nothing to do with race. I don't care whether the family and the protesters involved are white, brown, black, or any other race. The issue is the abuse of govt power and bringing the attention to govt harassment.