We find it hard to believe that so-called conservatives, particularly those on the far right, are trying to act like they don’t know that the people whom they are courting hold sentiments like this. For example, Ted Nugent’s comments calling the president a mongrel (a not so thinly veiled reference to the president’s multiracial background—read: “mixed race people are worthless dogs”) point out that a lot of people have a problem with the president over race. Yes, they’ll tell you it’s about the Affordable Care Act (erroneously called Obamacare) but they didn’t seem to have a problem with it when Mitt Romney did essentially the same thing with the Massachusetts An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care (and yes it was a mandate). Truth be told, they have a problem with race—period.
The right is playing to people who feel “disenfranchised” to build their base. Let there be no mistake: Among that base are a significant amount of people who understand that “disenfranchised” simply means white men no longer have the legal cover to treat blacks, Latinos and other non-whites as subhuman. In other words, they are decrying the loss of unchallenged “white privilege.”
Let’s face it, “white privilege” long has been a tool of this nation’s oligarchy to keep the troops in line. They have been able to keep the masses of whites poor and without real mobility by selling them the idea that it is better to be poor and white than rich and black; uneducated and white than degreed and black; anything and white than something and black. Once the masses bought into that, it was easy to keep them from seeing that the same people who praise them for standing up to an “oppressive” government are the real oppressors who systematically devalue their goods and services and labor; who manipulate the markets on a global basis to benefit the truly privileged one percent. The empty promise of white privilege keeps the oligarchy safe from any real revolt. The Koch brothers and their ilk have nothing to fear from the folks to whom they are selling a bill of goods because those people have been blinded by the mythos of their supremacy even at their lowest. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that they keep making heroes of men like Cliven Bundy—such men provide a buffer between the oligarchs and the masses who would have them beheaded if they ever realize they were being tricked.
Those of us who have been on the other side of the coin long have understood the loaded and coded language. And, we also understand that had there been no real backlash from Mr. Bundy’s statements about “the Negro,” these politicians who lauded him as a true American patriot still would be doing so. Furthermore, we suspect some of those who have backed away secretly sympathize with him. We’re pretty certain this “patriot” has never hidden his views on race and other matters and we refused to believe that our imminently qualified conservative politicians who wish to save us all were too incompetent to properly vet this icon before they threw support behind him.
Yes, the political right in this country has been playing the race card all along, just holding it fairly close to their chest. In fact, it has been one of their major recruitment tools. The erosion of rights is merely a euphemism for the erosion of white privilege. No one has taken their guns, ATVs, jet skis and all that—and no one really wants too. What bothers them is seeing folks who don’t look like them being able to afford those things and to live next to them. As we stated earlier, that all was by designed to keep them from seeing who’s really taking the lion’s share of everything—the oligarchs who own this nation and the politicians who supposedly run it. In the past, they’ve just been more polite about how they say it. As time goes on, however, and the nations becomes more brown than white and the flames of political conflict increasingly will be fueled by inflammatory, veiled hate speech. Don’t be surprised to see more of these great “patriots” hailed as American heroes.
What’s even more amazing is that there are a lot of Republicans, whose party member largely go out of their way to put people like Cliven Bundy on a pedestal as someone dedicated to freedom, who wonder why they are having trouble recruiting more African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color. They forget they used to have a bigger lock on the black vote than Democrats when they were truly the “party of Lincoln.” And yes, it was the southern Dixiecrats who were the staunch segregationists. But those people left the Democrat Party after the Johnson administration pushed through the civil rights legislation of the ’60s and guess where they’re at now?
Cliven Bundy on ‘the Negro’: Why his words aren’t a huge surprise
The Nevada rancher who took on the BLM now posits that ‘the Negro’ may be better off as slaves. The link between racially offensive views and a certain strain of far-right politics seen at the Cliven Bundy ranch is well established, analysts say.
By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer
Flanked by armed supporters, rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nev., April 18, 2014.
John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP
The “Battle of Bunkerville” – the ongoing grazing standoff between old-school Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management – was, of course, never just about cattle grazing. But it has now taken a turn that, at first glance, seems bizarrely unrelated: “the Negro.”
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” Mr. Bundy, who with help from armed supporters won a standoff with the BLM last week over cattle grazing rights, told admirers and a New York Times reporter at a press conference Wednesday. “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.”
Conservatives who had framed Bundy’s fight with the BLM as an act of patriotism are now backing off their support in light of his comments, which Sen. Dean Heller (R) of Nevada, who had previously lauded Bundy, called “appalling and racist.”