Rise of the Sagebrush Sheriffs

Rise of the Sagebrush Sheriffs

It has been painful to see the heavy hand of the federal government coming down on citizens and territories alike over the past few presidencies, seemingly without recourse or a local hero to stop the tremendous overreach from Washington, D.C. The feds declare a mud puddle on private land a wetland, and voila, it is now controlled by the EPA. They find an obscure toad in a marsh, and like magic, farming or logging in the area are prohibited and the area is paupered to satisfy the demands of environmentalists. Or as recently occurred in Oregon, the government imprisons two ranchers on charges of arson over a brush-clearing fire on their ranch that breached their property line in a case that harmed no one and in fact, improved the productivity and safety of the land by clearing heavy underbrush.

The federal government “owns” 51 percent of the land in eleven western states, and it controls that territory through the Bureau of Land Management, the Forestry Service, and other agencies that rule from on high in the nation's capital. It is reminiscent of the King of England owning virtually all of the land and “allowing” the peasants occasional use of the territory only by his leave. This seemed to be the case as presidents such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama declared huge tracts of land new federal reserves with very limited access by the local rabble. “Whose country is this,” the locals want to shout.

But there are groups, informally united, that are standing up for the constitution and the rights of the people. One of the groups is the Sagebrush Sheriffs, and they have surprisingly broad powers. They are starting to push back and reject the overreach of the federal government, and in many cases, they are seeing some success.

The challenge has been to awaken the nation and to appeal to the patriotic nature of American citizens who have passively watched the federal government grow and grow, eliminating freedoms and rights as it grew. Electing Donald J. Trump has certainly been part of that awakening.

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