By Robert A. Vella
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who has been refusing to pay his grazing fees for two decades because he doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of the U.S. federal government, finally spoke publicly about his true feelings on race. Apparently, he was emboldened by support from American conservatives everywhere who have elevated him to cult-hero status in their cause célèbre against democratic governance.
From: Conservative Media Hero Cliven Bundy Goes On Racist Tirade
For weeks, conservative media have embraced Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who engaged in an armed standoff with federal agents after refusing to pay decades worth of federal grazing fees on public land. The support persisted even as Bundy and his supporters were engaging in revolutionary, insurrectionist rhetoric and repeated threats of violence against government authorities.
Bundy took this even further on April 19, when he made overtly racist comments during one of his daily press conferences. From the New York Times (emphasis added):
“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.“
Now, Republican officials and conservative media pundits who had supported Bundy in his fight against the federal government, such as Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Nevada Senator Dean Heller, are sheepishly walking back their comments. But, here’s the problem. The ideology of right-wing extremism in America is the same ideology advocated by those who are now denouncing it. The hypocrisy is palpable. One cannot speak out against civil rights, voting rights, and cultural diversity, and not be seen as a racist or xenophobe. One cannot speak out against gender equality and reproductive rights and not be seen as a sexist. One cannot speak out against economic fairness and not be seen as a class warrior for the rich and powerful. One cannot speak out against authoritarian government selectively in defense of convenient allies and not be seen as an ultra-partisan or radical secessionist.
The GOP decided decades ago to foster and align itself with right-wing extremists. That soiled bedfellow has been making its life uncomfortable in recent years. When one lays down with dogs, one should expect to get fleas.
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