For Bidder 70

There is a man you ought to know,
American in his heart and soul,
Risked all his liberty,
Taking on the powers that be,
Delivering our public lands
Out of liquidators’ hands,
Sure looks like a patriot to me.

He took a number and held it high,
Bought every piece that he could buy,
Came time to pay his debts, he said:
“I’ve got no money, and no regrets;
This country means so much to me,
It belongs to posterity.”
Sure looks like a patriot to me.

Prison walls are not so high as the stars in a Utah sky.
Sure looks like a patriot to me.

Gave his body for the desert rock,
When they put it on the auction block.
Judge said: “You broke the laws.
No such thing as a moral cause.
I’ll make sure they put you away,
Far from the light of day.”
Sure looks like a patriot to me.

Prison walls are not so high as the stars in a Utah sky.
Sure looks like a patriot to me.

But when the law is just not right,
You’ve got to work with all your might.
Red rocks and desert sand,
All the Earth is holy land.
Now behold, you powers that be,
People rising peacefully,
They all look like patriots to me.

Words and music ©Doug Hendren 2013

What’s this song about?
In 2008, the Bush administration the US Bureau of Land Management auctioned off large tracts of Utah wilderness for oil and gas exploration. Young environmental activist Tim DeChristopher joined the auction, winning 22,000 acres.  At the auction, he was given the number “70”.  Although he had no ability to pay for the leases, Tim’s action successfully obstructed the auction, which the Obama administration later found to be illegal.  Despite this apparent acknowledgment of his moral motivation, he was later convicted and served 21 months in federal prison.

Tim’s inspiring story has been captured in the recent award-winning documentary “Bidder 70”, (Gage & Gage Productions 2012).  See it!

Tim is one of a new breed of American patriot. Although the juggernaut of the fossil fuel industry and their political minions prosecuted him as a criminal, their action has only served to expose their own illegitimacy, and to seal his status as an American hero in the Norman Rockwell tradition.

In his own words:  “In these times of a morally bankrupt government…this is what patriotism looks like.”  It is food for inspiration as well as reflection on our true responsibility and character as Americans in these challenging times.

NOTE WELL:  As a juror, you cannot be required to check your conscience at the court-house door.  During jury selection, Tim’s jurors were instructed by the judge not to allow conscience, nor the rightness of the law, to enter into their consideration at all. How can this be? As American citizens, we need to educate ourselves about our own history and legal system.  The juror’s duty is to render a just verdict.  What is a juror to do?   LEARN MORE :  Fully Informed Jury Association.


  1. “We will respond to the threat of climate change [activists]” thanks for the song and highlighting this great story.

  2. Great song! With a couple more verses, like about how his church supported him, and how he took action for climate justice, it could be a true hit! I suggest mentioning that Tim did not have the money personally, but he was able to raise it that day, with help from his church members, especially his friend, Michael Meilke, who brought a $43,000 check to the BLM office the day of the auction. The payment was illegally refused.

    As Tim has said over and over again, while it was nice land, the ultimate reason he took action was because climate change was being totally ignored, and worse yet, being denied. Please at least add a verse that at minimum, mentions global warming, climate change, climate disruption, climate chaos, or extreme weather, and the many of our children and grand children who will die because of our short-sighted ignorance.

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