By editorial board • 

Protesters need to go home so real narrative can be told

We often preach the importance of controlling the narrative.

Many times, we see individuals or agencies suppress information out of concern for the public’s reaction. But more often than not, the information breaks from other sources, typically either media outlets or social media channels, and the opportunity to shape the public’s initial perception has been lost forever.

This came to mind when a band of mostly armed ranchers from out of state decided last week to occupy the offices of Harney County’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The action has exposed the group to global ridicule. It has not garnered anywhere near the support the ranchers were expecting.

The two imprisoned ranchers the agitators were rallying for, Steven and Dwight Hammond, have publicly dissociated themselves. Other members of the local community, including the sheriff, have urged them to pack up and go home. Even self-styled fellow-traveler militias have decried their actions.

Their demand, that the federal government hand thousands of acres of refuge over to the county and state, was not only preposterous — after all, the federal government purchased it from private owners on the open market — but also replete with irony.

The protesters labeled refuge officials outsiders attempting to run roughshod over locals. Yet they have converged on Harney County for the express purpose of imposing their own views. 

Luckily, after the inevitable round of social media insanity, others are picking up the pieces of the narrative in a more responsible manner. If the group led by Ammon Bundy goes home now, it can still claim victory for shining a spotlight on important western land issues.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden seized on that issue in an impassioned Tuesday speech. He cited cases where federal land agencies had ignored the will of Congress and the electorate, undercutting bipartisan efforts to settle on what’s best for all, including the environment. He also took the opportunity to oppose a 2.5 million acre federal reserve being eyed in Malheur County.

“You see, how do you have faith in a government that doesn’t ever listen to you?” Walden asked. “How do you have faith in a government that, when elected representatives write a law, those charged with the responsibility of implementing it choose to go the other direction and not do so? That is what is breaking faith between the American people and their government, and that is what has to change.”

And his remains the narrative that should be front and center.

Comments

Mudstump

“How do you have faith in a government that, when elected representatives write a law, those charged with the responsibility of implementing it choose to go the other direction and not do so? That is what is breaking faith between the American people and their government, and that is what has to change.”

Some examples would be nice.

Horse with no name

Still waiting for an example Mudstump ask for..Rep. Walden, editorial staff... anybody else? What are the "important western land issues" you speak of? "A government that never listens to you" no the government heard you and decided to go another way (this is why we have elections and people vote). It doesn't go your way so it's all bad. Just sounds like more of the same ol' poor me victim cause I can't do what I want to do. That's the only real argument I've seen yet. For people that hate welfare so much, they can't get enough of it. For people that want mandatory minimum sentencing for others, they aren't too keen when it comes back to them. For those use to privilege (much like a spoiled child) the reality of having to share and live with others can be harsh. Bundy should have gone to jail over their first stunt in Nevada. I want to see each and every one of these yahoos pay for the crimes they are committing and have committed in the past. I want to see punitive damages too. This is pure bs putting innocent citizens and public safety employees at risk over their own selfish, ignorant, inspired direction from your God, right. Sedition is not a trait of a patriot, so dress up and prance around with your flags and guns on your own dime and property. I would suggest if you did have some kind of valid issue with the government, you pursue legitimate means of change and by the way, get use to not getting everything you want in this life, even if you have a loaded gun. It's called being a responsible adult citizen. If you don't like that, then I suggest a little saying from the '60s "America Love It Or Leave It".

Mudstump

“How do you have faith in a government that, when elected representatives write a law, those charged with the responsibility of implementing it choose to go the other direction and not do so? That is what is breaking faith between the American people and their government, and that is what has to change.”

Do you mean like Resolution 11415 - Yamhill County commissioners unanimous decision to ignore state law?

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