What if Oregon law-breaking had a different complexion?


By Tom Ehrich

Okay, I'll bite.

If the Oregon mob seizing a Federal facility were blacks and/or Muslims, would they be treated with the kid gloves of a patient FBI deliberation? Who knows? My guess, based on recent cop-on-black violence and harsh attacks on homegrown Muslim extremists, is that blood would have been shed almost immediately.

I am all in favor of patient deliberation, mind you. I am just aware of a double-standard when it comes to domestic law-breaking.

Look at how much bankers have gotten away with, and their misdeeds crippled the entire nation, not just embarrassed an isolated corner of Oregon. Look at the tax evasion going on among wealthy whites and white-led corporations. When you're determined to plunder the nation, it sure helps to be white.

Real Oregonians, it seems, want nothing to do with the posturing and anti-patriotism of these Oregonians-for-a-day. But they will wait for absurdity to bury itself. No need to unlock the gun cabinet.

While we're imagining, let's imagine the wingnuts wandering around Texas with Glocks and rifles. They happen to be white good old boys. What if blacks started arming themselves in this faux-macho way and daring customers at Wal Mart to talk trash to them. SWAT teams would be rolling, armed and ready.

What if blacks were the ones patrolling the southern border, prepared to gun down Mexicans slipping over the Rio Grande?

More imagining: imagine if the gun toters in Oregon and elsewhere actually understood the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Or cared one bit about the welfare of society. Or knew the meaning of patriotism.

Even a year of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz hasn't prepared us for the absurdity unfolding in Oregon. The challenge to the stable center, however, is comparable: people of common sense, solid values, a vibrant faith and respect for the nation need to speak up. Franklin Graham might find a way to profit from this Oregon standoff. But serious people of faith need to be asking deeper questions, like how to ratchet down a violent nation's fascination with guns, how to heal the wounds that accompany gun violence, and how to restore trust when would-be demagogues are doing everything possible to shatter trust.

The craziness of 2015 didn't vanish when a 5 became a 6. Common sense is still under assault. Perspective is under assault. The rule of law is under assault. The Bill of Rights is under assault. And while cartoon characters play with their deadly toys out west, the mega-wealthy continue under cover of nuttiness to put the entire nation under assault.

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