We have seen a picture of Cliven Bundy being interviewed with a pocket Constitution. But what we did not realize was whose version of the Constitution he held in his shirt pocket. Evidently Mr. Bundy and more of his protectors are followers of W. Clion Skousen’s writings and beliefs.
Skousan was a former FBI employee. He helped to popularize the Mormon faith. Skousan was a strong, zealous anti-communist, who was admired by the John Birch Society. His book “The 5000 Year Leap,” has been described by Glenn Beck as having been inspired by God. His other book, “The Making of America: The substance and meaning of the Constitution,” is also widely read by right-wing conspiracy followers. Time magazine, in 1961, once described Skouson as the “exemplar of the far-right ultras.”
Skousen’s views have found a renewed popularity among the right wing. His beliefs go back to a darker day in Mormon history when the church was racially and sexually discriminatory. He along with Ezra Taft Benson held a lot of sway among Mormon doctrine for years.
Skounsen’s viewed the world with fear, with a fear of communism, and a fear of what conspiracy buffs claim is a New World Order. His beliefs sound like today’s Tea Party doctrine and dogma. His goals included getting rid of income and estate taxes, getting rid of the Federal Reserve Board, getting rid of the minimum wage and the fear of international bankers were the hallmarks of his political agenda. The fairly recent re-release of his book ,”The Making of America,” has been sanitized. It no longer calls African -Americans “pickaninnies.”
Skousen believed we have a choice between Christ or Chaos and that Mormons are important in all of this in that the future depends on accepting God’s government . He believed that Mormons were destined to lead in the effort to dictate morality. Most importantly he believed that our alleged Constitutional decline began when the Federal Government started enforcing equality under the law, thereby ignoring the wishes of the individual states.
These are the beliefs that included in the Bundy held copy of the Constitution. Perhaps the beliefs espoused by Skousen influenced Cliven Bundy to join the American Independence Party, a political party founded by George Wallace. So in point of fact the copy of the interpreted Constitution that he held in the front pocket of his shirt tells us a lot about who Cliven Bundy really is.
Some of my fellow citizens may wish that we just ignore Cliven Bundy. There has been a long standing dispute over grazing rights. Some people seem quite willing to let Bundy’s illegal acts be forgotten. Today’s conventional wisdom is that we need to avoid any confrontation that might lead to violence. Bundy and his followers try to portray themselves as latter day Robin Hoods, standing up against the government. Justice and fairness demand a legal resolution, primarily for those who have paid for the right to graze Federal land. The failure to keep Bundy from trespassing again and again, is most unfair to those who do pay to graze, to those who have done the right thing. If the Bundy gang is not punished there is no telling what they might do in the future. Inaction by the authorities might just encourage the Bundy’s to do something far worse in the future.
My fellow citizens what Cliven Bundy represents is not what America is today. He flaunts the law, and is followed by people across the country who also hold these archaic and hateful beliefs. His version of what the Constitution has to say has no resemblance to the reality of what our Constitution is all about. His beliefs remind us all of a time when America was a different place, where women did not vote, and when blacks were slaves. Throughout time we have added amendments and additional rights that were not included in the original Constitution. America is not going back in time to when people were denied their human rights. He is no hero, no folk hero to be admired. We should look at him as a person who is a deadbeat, someone who does not pay his debts.