While spending time in Hill City, SD and then continuing on our journey to Kansas, I kept reflecting on the shutdown of the federal government, the inspiration of the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the books I’d recently read about the American-Indian conflict written from the perspective of the Native American. I did a little research on “Manifest Destiny” finding History.com to be the most unbiased reference. “The term manifest destiny originated in the 1840s. It expressed the belief that it was Anglo-Saxon Americans’ providential mission to expand their civilization and institutions across the breadth of North America. This expansion would involve not merely territorial aggrandizement but the progress of liberty and individual economic opportunity as well…”
This is a stretch, perhaps, but what is happening now is at least remotely similar to the plight of the Native Americans in the mid- to late-1800’s. While many prominent Americans (such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and most Whigs and Republicans) apparently rejected Manifest Destiny, the movement pushed forward into and through the Indian nations that once thrived in the vast plains of our country.
A few excerpts from The Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III will bring the parallels into focus.
- Oglala Lakota (Sioux) leaders met with Crazy Horse. “Most who came to seek his insight were worried most about the effect the white intruders were having on the Lakota way of living. …(A)ll were concerned with how quickly many Lakota became attached to the material goods offered by the whites. Trading for a wool blanket was easier than days of hard work to scrape and soften an elk hide.”
- “The annuities were late and some of the Lakota who had grown to depend on the annuity cattle for meat instead of hunting were becoming nervous. Others scoffed at the foolishness of depending on the white man to feed their families, but, sadly, the white man and his annuities were like the thorn buried deep in the foot. It couldn’t be removed without some blood flowing.”
- “In time those careless ones would come to be known as Loaf About the Forts, or Loafers.” They “(c)ould no longer hunt…(and were) (d)ependent on white annuities.”
- “In spite of the cruelty of the soldier leaders at Fort Laramie (Fouts and Moonlight), new Loafer camps were pitched around the fort. And it was a Loafer that brought word from the peace talkers. They had come with more presents, kettles, blankets, knives, and now guns. And they were asking for Red Cloud to come and sign the paper so that all the Lakota could share in these gifts—so there could be peace in the Powder River country.”
- “The peace talks had come with a new offer as well. All the country from the Great Muddy River (Missouri) to the Shining Mountains (Rockies) would be Lakota land, so long as the rivers shall flow and the grass grows. Where did the whites get the power to give the Lakota lands they already control, Crazy Horse heard many old men ask.”
- “Going into battle was not the pursuit of life by taking life; rather, it was the defense of the life of the people by putting one’s own life on the line.”
Our government today is expanding. It is federalizing more and more goods and services, deepening the dependency of the American people on the very government that is supposed to encourage independence. And now it’s very clear that our president embellished the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of United States citizens in the wake of cancelled health insurance policies.¹
Our government is spying on us, invading our privacy, disarming law-abiding citizens, and arming a new federal police force.² Why does a government of the people need an army inside its borders aimed at the people?³ Some political pundits go so far as to label our government tyrannical. No matter where you land on this debate, it is very clear that our leaders want us to be evermore subservient to them. I’m having a difficult time understanding what gives our government that right.
While on the Road Trip to Kansas it became crystal clear to me that our beloved country is headed in the wrong direction. I renewed my personal commitment to the United States Constitution and to the founding principles of our great nation—“one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” We, the people, must unite once again and defend the right of freedom for ourselves and our posterity. We must resist the easy way out—the temptation to be Loafers.
¹ WSJ-November 2, 2013: Aides Debated Obama Health-Care Coverage Promise
As the president pushed for a new federal health law in 2009, he made a simple pledge: If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your plan. But behind the scenes, White House officials discussed whether that was a promise they could keep.
Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the law’s impact on existing insurance arrangements was “a social policy decision the government made” and the president’s description of it was “pretty low on the totem pole of political overstatements.”
² On March 5, 2013, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in which he asked several questions about the agency’s recent massive ammunition purchases.
“It has become clear that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is purchasing vast quantities of ammunition, considerably more than historical use would suggest is needed. Over the past ten months, more than 1.6 billion rounds have been acquired, and recently the Department posted another solicitation for additional large purchases of ammunition.
Unfortunately, the Department has yet to explain why ammunition purchases on such an astonishing scale are taking place. Estimates show that this much ammunition would be enough for 24 years of the Iraq War and comes out to five rounds for every person in the United States.”
³ On March 23, 2013, Terry M. Hestilow, a retired Army officer with nearly 30 years of service under his belt, as well as combat experience in both Vietnam and Afghanistan issued a dire warning to all Americans. Here is an excerpt from following letter to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), posted on Hestilow’s Facebook page:
“It is with gravest concern that I write to you today concerning the recent appropriation of weapons by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that can only be understood as a bold threat of war by that agency, and the Obama administration, against the citizens of the United States of America. To date, DHS has been unwilling to provide to you, the elected representatives of the People, justification for recent purchases of almost 3,000 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) armored personnel carriers, 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (with associated weapons), and other weapons systems, when, in fact, the DHS has no war mission or war making authority within the limits of the United States of America.
“Significant is the fact that at the same time the Obama administration is arming his DHS for war within the limits of the United States against the People of the United States in accordance with his 2008 campaign speech claiming,
‘We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve gotta (sic) have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded [as the United States military]’—Candidate Barack Obama, 2008.”
On June 7, 2013, Francis X. Clines posted a piece entitled “The Ammo Conspiracy” on the New York Times blog. Interestingly, even he wrote:
“For over a year, survivalist bloggers have waxed apocalyptic about the Department of Homeland Security’s bulk ammunition purchases for its 100,000 peace officers in its 90-plus agencies — ‘buying up enough ammo to wage seven-year war against the American people,’ as one hysteric put it. Others have charged that D.H.S. is deliberately creating a domestic bullet shortage for ordinary Americans intent on pursuing their Second Amendment rights. This concocted issue seemed like an occasion for light amusement until Wednesday evening (June 5). That’s when the House seriously voted to block funds for future D.H.S. ammunition needs—until the department submits to Congress a comprehensive report on the history of and justification for its bullet requirements.”
Great article Gordon. The refrences are perfect!