Friday, April 25, 2014

What? A Right Wing Hero Who Is Racist? *UPDATED*

I think you have the wrong flag up.
As I'm sure shocks us all, Cliven Bundy (I guess I've been calling him Clive.), of "Get Off My Lawn And Your Lawn To" fame, has shown off a new facet of his charm offensive. Racism.

Now this has stymied some of us. How could he be like this? He's seemed so informed and level headed up to now.

Would someone whose openly said:
  • He doesn't recognize the United States government as existing.
  • He wanted the local sheriff to disarm the Forest Service officers in the area, and then have those weapons handed to him.
...seem like a person that would spout idiotic racist patter?

Being serious, most of us aren't surprised. Another Right Wing hero tosses out casual confident racism. Somehow people who obsess over a past, where white people were king (Well, more kingly.), look back at how black people were treated, and see it as right and good. It is the sad outcome of their conservative philosophical process. Women back in the house. Blacks and Hispanics working in the back.

Conservatism has become defined by these regressive ideas. But the one lesson most conservative leaders learned is how to couch their horrible ideas in coded language, and pseudo intellectualism. (Clean Air Act, Academic Freedom, Trickle Down Economics, Kenyan)

And that is what is galling about Bundy, and others like Todd Akin and Phil Robertson. Bundy talks like the GOP's many failed candidates, going off on blacks, gays, or birth control.

But they all still share common thinking with the rest of the conservative movement. They are hostile to gay rights, to civil rights, and to reproductive rights. But it's all supposed to be coded. People like Paul Ryan work to hide it. They try and sell "urban" as an innocent and honest. It's really racist and disingenuous. People like Bundy screw up the strategy, by plainly speaking the bigotry and contempt.

In case you want to hear Bundy's unfiltered thoughts.

"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids, and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch, they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. 
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Ta-Nishi Coates nicely points to the stupid and ignorant core of this idea.
"When people like Cliven Bundy assert the primacy of the past it is important that we do not recount it selectively. American enslavement is the destruction of the black body for profit. That is the past that Cliven Bundy believes “the Negro” to have been better off in. He is, regrettably, not alone."

The clueless nostalgia about slavery in America is painful to listen to, but also unsurprising. We are continually hearing about it from conservatives lamenting the Civil War, or the Civil Rights Movement.

Like former state representative of Arkansas Loy Maunch:
… If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861? 
So much of this sits just under the surface. This aggrieved sense about a past where white people were the wronged party. It's just weird.

And I would like to say that ignorance about the era is only a conservative issue. But most white Americans don't bother to learn about the pain and suffering inflicted during those years. It gets compartmentalized too often, it's more a movie topic.

But it is conservatives that seem to be alone in longing for those days, or at least the days of Jim Crow.

Bundy laments that black culture no longer has slavery to help maintain family. Really?

He is apparently unaware that people being treated as property is detrimental. When you had kids, they were often taken from you, and sold to distant places. Is that the happy life he's talking about? Or having your spouse sold off? How about seeing those you love being abused, tortured, or assaulted? That is better than getting some public aid to get out of poverty?

That's screwed up. But we've been hearing this year that financial institutions being held accountable is like the Holocaust. The ACA is like living under Stalin. Conservatives don't seem read up on history. And they definitely clueless about black history.

Some conservatives have shuddered at his words. But their reactions seem centered more on how it makes them look bad. Sean Hannity was affronted, but seemed to blame it all on Democrats, somehow. Hannity then announced he knows of no racism or racist among conservatives (outside of Bundy.)

Guess he's forgotten Collin Powell's thoughts on the GOP. Or all revealed emails. The signs at ACA protest. Or, that quote above from Arkansas.

But Bundy wasn't done revealing GOP thinking. Don't forget the true shame of this age.

From TPM:

"If I say 'negro' or 'black boy' or 'slave,' I'm not -- if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive (sic) then Martin Luther King hasn't got his job done yet," the rancher said.

Yeah, blame King. His thinking is that if black people aren't okay with him calling them anything that comes to his mind, black people are the problem. If you find it offensive or derogatory, shame on you.

And this also is GOP logic. Online many have started to notice the move to denounce anyone talking about black issues as being race baiters, race hustlers, the real racists, etc. It sometimes makes it too the news, but it's mostly been pernicious on social media. A way to try to belittle and shame activist and others eager to engage in issues.

And we get Bundy to lay it out plainly. He should get to call you any manner of thing, and long for slavery, and shame on you if that seems wrong.

But Bundy just spouts this stuff sporadically. It's his brethren that are elected that work to make the stupid law.

In the end, Bundy is a criminal, defying law. But he's also a side show. A tool to spur on conservative voters, and the paranoid anti-government types that the GOP has taken on as their own.

He represents something very bad in conservatism, but he isn't the end of it. Plenty of idiotic elected officials, very much in the mold of Bundy, are up this year for election. A great way to limit the damage they are doing to this country is to get active and vote.


Rachel Maddow had an astute look at just why these GOP heroes keep turning out to be racist.

Heck, I forgot above to note that they were bragging about how they would stand against the government...with their wives and kids as human shields.

These sovereign citizens seems to blend with tax protesters who seem to blend with the white supremacist, then they end up killing government officials.

It seems so clear what Bundy was, and those around are. But people who should know better didn't care. They wanted to make him a hero and example to live up to. And, of course, they love it if you can evoke Jesus in the process.

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