Friday, April 25, 2014

The racist rancher; or, how Cliven Bundy is pretty much exactly what you thought he was

By Michael J.W. Stickings

So right-wing hero (and welfare rancher) Cliven Bundy was revealed by the Times, in an interview, to be, unsurprisingly, an abhorrent racist espousing slavery (and cotton-picking) as the proper place for "the Negro," a revelation he denied, claiming his comments were taken out of context, but then, well, there was the actual video, which is rather hard to deny:

In response, his chief right-wing cheerleader, Fox News's Sean Hannity, said Bundy's comments "are beyond repugnant to me. They are beyond despicable to me. They are beyond ignorant to me," which is really the least he should have said, but, really, what did you expect, you fucking idiot?


But do not think for a minute that Bundy's views, what with Hannity's distancing himself from them, are somehow beyond the current morass of ugliness that is contemporary American conservatism. As Slate's Jamelle Bouie writes:

In other words, the real problem with African-Americans today is that they’re addicted to welfare and unwilling to work. Sure, slavery wasn’t ideal, but at least the Negroes had skills (cotton picking!), work, and family.

Obviously, Bundy is a crank. But he’s not alone. Not only are these views shared on the survivalist fringe of American life, but they’re fairly common within the conservative movement...

[T]he only difference between Bundy and a whole host of conservatives is that the renegade rancher isn't sophisticated enough to couch his nonsense in soundbites and euphemism. Or, if Bundy has anything to say about "the negro," he learned it from the conservative movement.

This is not to say that all conservatives are Bundy-style racists, or that they all harbor similar views. It is to say, however, that Bundy's abhorrent views are alive and well in today's conservative -- and, yes, Republican -- ranks, and that they are far more comment than you might think, and than Hannity and his odious ilk would have us believe.

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