“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.”
-- Today's New York Times.
Last week, some folks were asking why I wasn't all over the case of "brave" Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his stand against the "overreach" of the federal government (which from what I could gather was just trying to collect the same fees that scores of Western ranchers, many of them conservatives like Bundy, pay every year.) There were lot of reasons why I didn't consider this a front-burner story, and one of them was that I feared that today's news was where this was headed.
This is what I've been saying for the last five years, that while there is more than one factor driving the Tea Party movement and the visibility of right-wing extremists, there is no greater factor than "fear of a black planet," or their terror that in 2042 or thereabouts, whites will no longer be the majority in the United States -- punctuated by an African-American president right now. While I have no doubt that Bundy's far-right views pre-date 2008 (probably back to the '90s and Bill Clinton, nicknamed "the first black president"), the broader failure to respect any federal authority seems to date to around noon on January 20, 2009, for some bizarre reason. When I was reporting my book on the Tea Party, "The Backlash," activists in Delaware (south Delaware, naturally) told me that Obama didn't legitimately win their state because his votes came from "the welfare people" around Wilmington. I'm surprised they didn't suggest that black votes count three-fifths.
There's so much that's so wrong with Bundy's "political analysis" -- but I will note that the "government subsidies" trope conveniently ignores the fact that the majority of benefit recipients, even for food stamps, are not "the Negro" but "the Caucasian." But to all my conservative friends out there, the simple lesson is this: Next time you pick a spokesman for your ideas about "freedom," try to find someone who's not so down with slavery.