On the EDge: There’s an uncivil war raging

OPINION – In the craziness that is the Cliven Bundy bungle in Bunkerville is an uncivil war that has been raging since the 67-year-old cattleman called in the self-proclaimed militia to face off with federal law enforcement officers.

The residual fallout has been an explosion that has blown wider the chasm between all that is good in this country and those who harbor deep, lingering resentment against a federal government for reasons that, for all their rhetoric, are anything but supportive of the Constitution, freedom, or the good of the people of this nation.

The latest racist salvos from Bundy have done nothing to repair the damage already done and the standoff continues, even if it no longer involves men with guns.

The weapon of choice now is social media, where the heat has been turned up to previously unfathomable degrees. I thought the torrent of hatred that I witnessed during the last presidential campaign was bad. Compared with what is taking place today, the Obama-Romney duel was a stroll through the park.

Normally the domain of creepers, stalkers, and crushers, social media is now a battlefield where supercharged polemics are tearing into the usual fare of cuddly kittens, political sniping, and, as Bruce Springsteen put it, “boring stories of glory days.”

The latest flame-up is nothing but a precursor of what will follow as nobody seems interested in bridge building, which is fine, because sometimes, it’s better to watch the flames in your rear-view mirror rather than to build a rickety, temporary span that is sure to tumble under the force of the next seismic societal event.

The thing is, opinions are like computer keyboards, everybody has them. Unfortunately, many, it seems, are as jumbled as those keyboards and don’t make much sense unless they are put together in a coherent manner, which is also not occurring right now with any kind of frequency. People would not dare to speak to each other face-to-face the way they have been in these social media outlets lately. If they did, I guarantee there would be a lot of folks walking around with shiners.

If you have been aware or participating to any extent in the discourse that has transpired since this whole Bundy thing went public, you know what I mean, and, if you have expressed an opinion of any kind, you have probably seen your Facebook friend numbers go down at least a little bit, which is a natural progression of what I call weeding the garden.

The problem, however, is that this is not really a natural progression where people realize they simply have outgrown each other and go on with their lives. It is a mean, vicious way of ending the conversation, and that is dangerous. To lose that ability to discuss, even if you are on diametrically opposed sides, is to lose reason. The act of aggressive discussion, arguing your point with passion and conviction, is likely to get you ostracized from at least a portion of whatever circles you travel in. I saw it during the last election and see it again now. There is little civility to the debate and those who try to play that hand usually shuffle off into a “can’t we all get along” posture by saying, “well…I don’t like either side,” which is a pathetic attempt at appeasement.

Only, there is no appeasement here, and there won’t be, to be quite honest, because the anger card has not only been played, it’s been slammed onto the table and things have gone so far that no matter what people may say, grudges will come from this sorrowful chapter that has challenged our ideals about country, patriotism, loyalty, and trust in our fellow man and woman that has been shattered now that racism has reared its ugly head in this standoff.

I’ve seen some try to reach out to the other side as this has all played out and those miserable attempts at compromise have been nothing more than miserable attempts, weak and limp. To sprinkle a little fault on Bundy, a little fault on the BLM, a little fault on one side or the other is lame appeasement. This is something that resulted in absolute actions and will not be settled with fence-sitting propositions. There’s no splitting this pot, it’s a winner-take-all hand and, in the end, it will be ugly, but that’s how it is sometimes. Some gotta win, some gotta lose.

We haven’t liked each other in this country for some time now. The great divide occurred when the propaganda of the Reagan Era successfully took the noble word “liberal” and retooled it into a pejorative, usually spat out like bad, bitter wine. Ever since, the two factions have harbored an anger that has grown rather than become tempered, and now that weapons and racism have been cast onto that fire, the anger from the left is rising and, well, we aren’t backing down or accepting that business about how “everybody” is to blame.

Unfortunately, this festering sore has spread far wider than the West, where there has always been a peculiar mindset.

The story of Cliven Bundy has reached the point of national coverage, and people are weighing in at all levels – from major media to social media to interpersonal exchanges – as this story sinks us deeper into the muck and leaving a scar that will not heal.

The argument has been made that Bundy’s racism will now overshadow the larger issue at hand – liberty and personal freedom.

However, there can be no personal liberty or freedom if we remain shackled by racism. Humanity as a whole is greater than partisanship, statism, or nationalism.

And, no matter how this embarrassing chapter of American history ends, there will be few who will push the “Like” button.

No bad days!


Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • I BAPTIZE TERRORISTS April 29, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I think Ed would be very happy if we all just fired up a nice big “fat one” and passed it around and the world would be a better place. Can you just see Mr. Bundy and Ed sharing a “fatty”? 😉

    • Giuseppe April 29, 2014 at 11:48 am

      I don’t get the “fatty” comment. Oh wait, because Ed has long hair your implying he smokes dope, now I get it. I guess if you can’t be engaging in a debate of beliefs you can always just throw a personal but fictional and baseless attack out on the one you disagree with.
      I guess that means you lost that debate because you didn’t have any factual information to add to the subject.

  • Thoroughbred1021 April 29, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Yeah, this author is really a Debbie Downer liberal—like most most liberals. I know what kind of crap I am going to be reading every time I see an article by him.

    • Giuseppe April 29, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Again with the name calling. Why? Do you have a difference of opinion but not the intellect to convey the message? If you resort to name calling you have lost the argument. Say something meaningful and intelligent regarding the subject. Debbie Downer liberal indeed. At least he is verbose enough to let you know where he stands.

  • McMurphy April 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Ed – are you seriously suggesting that everything and anything the Fed Govt does is good for the country and the people and is, by definition, supportive of the Constitution and freedom?

    • old dimer April 29, 2014 at 9:47 am

      Yes, don’t you know the liberal party’s religion mandates that everything the Democrats and Obama and the government does is good? The constitution and our freedoms are irrelevant. They believe that Big Government = Good; but Big Business = Bad….when in actuality they are both the same giant, bureaucratic, corrupt mess. Big Gov and Big Biz have a revolving door between the two, and big business is what pays and supports the oligarchy we have running our country.

    • Bender April 29, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Yeah MCMURPHY that is exactly what Ed said. I mean it’s exactly what Ed said if you didn’t read or comprehend the article and merely regurgitated a tired, nonsensical argument that has no bearing on what Ed actually wrote. A well oiled machine, that mind of yours is.

  • Harley April 29, 2014 at 8:49 am

    If Ed knew as much as he thinks he knows about life and history in general and the way the West was won then he would understand things a little better just saying.

    • Bender April 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Why don’t you enlighten us with a primer on the way the West was won Harley?

  • old dimer April 29, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Yawn….nothing changes….tribalism is still alive and well, and always will be….move along now.

  • Bill Jordan April 29, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Ed, please tell us what constitutes a citizen to rebel against their government. Is there anything at all in your opinion? And what does race have to do with Bundy and the BLM? And also tell us how ‘liberal’ was thought of before President Reagan? Your tired old ‘liberal’ agenda is more likened to communism in my opinion.

  • Burton April 29, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Yep, that’s right. You libtards just keep your heads in the sand while you continue to lose your freedoms. Everything is all good.

    • Giuseppe April 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Libtards? Again with the name calling. Why? Do you have a difference of opinion but not the intellect to convey the message? If you resort to name calling you have lost the argument. Say something meaningful and intelligent regarding the subject.

  • Chaister April 29, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Ed, just a few questions. On your opinion of the remarks that Clive Bundy made concerning racism. Are you basing your opinion on, 1, you were there personally when he spoke, 2, you saw his WHOLE video of his speech, or 3, you only heard the EDITED version of his speech as posted by the New York Times. If it was the latter, then shame on you for even posting your opinion about whether the remarks were racist. If you have seen the whole video (which I do not think you have, and I doubt you were present when the speech was given) then you have a right to your opinion.
    The second thing is…it is never an “embarrassing chapter in American History” when the people are standing up for their rights. Embarrassing may be their personal decisions or actions, and that falls on them. It would do you well as a writer to make a better distinction. I personally don’t agree with your views as they are seemingly, one sided and uninformed. Am I perfect, definitely not, but I feel that If I am going to broadcast my opinions, I try really hard, to get all of the facts and not to only rely on what the media has said, and right now, you are the media.

  • Ed Kociela April 29, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Chaister: I watched the entire video several times, looking for something redeeming about it, but to no avail. Rights? Let’s be honest, this really isn’t about “rights.” It is about anger and hatred at those who govern, not the government; it is about racism, whether from Bundy’s plantation mentality to NBA owner Donald Sterling’s recent rant, to an inborn resentment/hatred of a black man sitting in the White House. As I said, there can be no personal liberty or freedom if we remain shackled by racism.

    • Karen April 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      I, too, watched the entire video of Bundy several times and his later “explanation” of what he really meant. He was sorry if he offended anyone but he added “I think I am right”. He also acknowledged that he was a “welfare queen” (his words). Bundy lost his rights when he refused to pay grazing fees like hundreds of other ranches do each year. He broke the law and the gun-toting knuckleheads that showed up in the area are just common thugs. The issue isn’t freedom or rights, it is called breaking the law.

      • RJ_MacReady April 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

        You need to look deeper. Why did he stop paying? because the promises the BLM and other federal institutions were supposed to be using the tax money for things like improving roads, water-ways, etc.. Many many many tax payers never see the representation their taxation makes. He had EVERY right to stop paying these “land-grab” fees. This IS an issue of freedom. The BLM is KILLING his cattle. Not even local folks. The locals agents told the government they wouldn’t assist. Why were all the troops from out of state?

        You need to look further.. this is a HUGE issue and Bundy needs to be forgotten. Point the spotlight somewhere else.

    • kacee April 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      You took the name of Ronnie in vain now you get what you deserve. Ha Ha great article Ed. On point and something we should all consider.

    • Chaister April 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Ed, I was being honest, that’s what an opinion is…or should be. Your “honest” opinion, of which you have and have a right too, I didn’t question that. But Rights, yes it is about rights, always has been, in fact rights and equal treatment go hand in hand. Just like you believe we have a right to smoke pot, I don’t agree but I will abide by what the laws say as long as they do not infringe upon my “rights”. Sorry, that’s just another article. As I have in the past, I will continue to get informed beyond what the “media” says I should know. Like I said before, you are a steward of the first amendment, try not to put people down because of our opinions, and right to have one. Just an FYI assuming people are “shackled by racism” because their view doesn’t coincide with yours is rather…”over-reaching”.

  • JAR April 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Your true colors are showing for all the town to see again. In the past, the readers of your well written column have tried to give you the benefit of being a somewhat open minded American, willing to judge facts honestly and accept others viewpoint as a valid input in the discussions. I suggest you reread your own column again, not the wording, but the condescending message to folks who are not in the same Marxist camp your currently waddling in.

    • Bender April 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      For the uninitiated, a Marxist is anyone standing to the left of JAR. In other words, most of the country.

  • Donovan Bock April 29, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    You “conservatives” and “liberals” sniping at each other are hilarious. You both think you’re so righteous but the truth is you’re all a bunch of happy slaves who will give away all our freedoms, depending on whether the Emperor sitting upon the throne is from your awful party. You all throw around words like “unconstitutional,” but the fact is the constitution is a joke and hasn’t and never has protected us from the parasitic political elites. You’re all my enemies as far as I’m concerned, government is the disease that will destroy humanity, politicians are vermin and I don’t want your beloved ruling class you force on the rest of us with your uninformed votes.

    • Bender April 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Now the loopy uncle shows up at the family dinner. Slightly unhinged, yet never in doubt, he’ll drone on with his libertarian and anarchist mixture of confused reality while those at the dinner table sneak away one by one.

    • JJ April 30, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Well you had me for one sentence…

  • Donovan Bock April 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Also, get out of here with that racist crap, Ed. I’m sure there are a minority of idiots who hate Obama because he’s “black,” but in pretty much every instance Obama has been a continuation of the policies of Bush. Obama had two American citizens assassinated without trial, where were you then? Being anti-war, I can’t abide that two faced snake and your democrat bias is showing when you say he’s hated only for being “black.” If the anti-war left had any principles, they’d hate that warmongering monster too, unfortunately, they’ve all but disappeared just like the “limited government” republicans disappeared during 8 years of Bush. You partisan hacks are so unprincipled it’s a joke. You don’t give a … what the government does as long as it’s your party in power.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • BSMETER April 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I find it interesting that freedom of speech only applies when it works in your favor. Racism only has teeth if you give it teeth. Words are words. Everyone has an opinion. As long as they don’t force their opinion on others, and try to oppress, control, or persuade someone, it’s still just their opinion. They have that right.

  • zed April 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Ed, all of your followers know that if this incident occurred in Utah, and Hatch was ordering the BLM to move cattle of a rancher who happened to be a democrat or a minority, you would be defending the rancher and calling Hatch a racist.

    • Burton April 29, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Hit the nail on the head there Zed! its only racism if your Caucasian, offensive to them if your a heterosexual conservative, or worse! A Christian.

  • mamafirst April 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Ed, you can rest easy that few will be hitting the “Like” button on your post. It is full of name-calling, misrepresentation, prejudice, and hate. For all your talk about the destruction this type of partisanship bring, you sure bring it on in droves.

  • Burton April 29, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Well because there really is nothing to say about Eds columns that can be categorized or associated with the word “intelligent”. You guys just keep reading his leftist garbage and trying to convince yourselves that you actually believe this stuff. Anyone ever notice he isn’t anywhere even close to the middle on any even topic. Not even social events? I read his column for the comedy. And to watch the left wingers try to defend it.

  • Burton April 29, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Besides, answer me this. How come when Mr. Bundy or Mr. Sterling make a racist comment you all want them punished and consider it a hate crime. But when “Snoop Dogg”, Reverend Jesse Jackson, or even your beloved Harry Reid make derogatory racial comments its their first amendment right!

    • RJ_MacReady April 30, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Rappers are making statements to a welcoming audience and using a proper venue.
      Just because the first amendment exists, doesn’t mean private institutions can’t ask you to leave, or shut up..

  • Eds little brother April 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Wow I don’t think I have read anything so inchoherant in my life. Let me get this straight , we all hate each other because a half white half black man is in the White House , And every one knows white hates black so mr Bundy is a racist because mr. Obama hates himself . And we can’t have freedom because some Old rich NBA owner had a mistress that need more money . And Ed is the only one that is right because our worst years were when Reagan was in the White House .

  • Red Rocker April 29, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Ed’s attempts to be the voice of reason have inspired the sort of hate filled rants we expected. New generations of more tolerant Americans are taking the reins, and there are a minority of angry threatened dinosaurs bellowing their death throes. It ain’t pretty, but America was born of ideals and these will win the day.

  • JAR April 29, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    PAY NO ATTENTION TO BURTON. He’s just confusing the conversation with truth.
    I bet when Ed read Burton’s question and his logical summation, Ed’s face turned a bright red. I have a good friend who thinks the same way Ed does. When you throw a little truth into the conversation, He always says Well, Well, Bush started it!! Plus he hates the little guy and supports the right to work bigots.

  • RJ_MacReady April 30, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Freedom of Speech is great.. just don’t be a jerk about it. The sheer volume of useless, unintelligent name-calling in these comments makes me ashamed to be from Southern Utah. You all are the people holding the rest of humanity back.

    • Burton April 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      So let me get this right here. You are defending African American entertainers for spewing racist and hate remarks, and condemning white business men who do the same thing? because its to a different crowd? Really? Really?… How about old Reverend Wright? You know the one, “its not God Bless America, its …* America”. Please entertain me with how your going to defend him? So reverends can make racist comments to entire congregations? So I guess churches are “proper venues” to make racist comments as well?
      Ed. ellipsis.…*

    • Burton May 1, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      That’s exactly what I expected. No response. It is hard to defend something when you truly know it is so hypocritical.

  • Thoroughbred1021 April 30, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Ok, I am going to say something that the libs will go nuts about, but no one else will say it. I think that if you really look honestly at the situation, you will come to the same conclusions.
    We all agree that the country is more divided on race than ever before. I think one of the primary reasons for increased racial divide can be laid squarely at the feet of the Obama voters. It appears that many, many blacks who did not / do not subscribe to Mr. Obama’s Marxist style of governing sold out their own beliefs just so that they could have black president. Skin color won out over strong personal beliefs in many instances. For that reason, I have lost some respect for the blacks because they put skin color above country, regardless of how bad it has gotten for them and all of us. However, the stain of slavery, along with the perpetual mantra of bitterness and hate constantly spewed from the Al Sharptons, Jesse Jacksons and Snoop Lion’s of the world will not allow this wound to heal. It almost appears that many blacks still needed race validation because of the constant crap that they hear from the so-called black leaders and tried to get that by voting in the first black president. I have several black conservative friends who have always voted conservative in the past and who actually changed their vote TO Obama BECAUSE he was black, and they openly stated that. If this so-called black leadership would just sit down, shut up and allow people to live their lives without constantly screaming racism at every turn, I think we would see much better race relations. There will always be a few crazies out there, but the older generation (i.e. the Donald Sterlings of the world) who seem to be the most racist are dying off. The younger generations have lived side by side with many races and for the most part seem to have normal race relations. Ed, please stop churning the pot. And to the Jesse Jackson’s , Al Sharpton’s and Snoop Lion’s of the world- sit down, shut up and let us live our lives in peace!

    • I BAPTIZE TERRORISTS April 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      “Snoop Lion”??? Who is Snoop Lion?

  • Orion September 18, 2014 at 7:24 am


    You could just be honest, come out of the closet and admitte you want a totalitarian state like in China but one which is politically correct, you would feel a lot better if you wheren´t living a lie by proclaiming that the feds stand for freedom and justice.

    The reason the word liberal was made into an insult is because of the butt-hole behaviour of liberals themselves, otherwise Reagan would have been grasping at straws and been laughed at.
    Just like those biblical litteralists, it is never your fault or your mistakes, only everyone else are wicked and delluded for not Heeding The Word!

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