Cliven Bundy, the “Hateful Racist”?


Cliven Bundy, the Nevadan cattle rancher currently locked in a public lands grazing dispute with the Bureau of Land Management, recently gave an off-the-cuff Q&A session with a crowd of supporters and reporters. He made some interesting comments, which will probably further polarize an already polarizing figure.

As the New York Times reports:

[Bundy] said he would continue holding a daily news conference; on Saturday, it drew one reporter and one photographer, so Mr. Bundy used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race.

“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.”

As these words were spoken, Bundy arch-nemesis Sen. Harry Reid got the first erection he’s had in 50 years before releasing a statement the same day:

Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist,” Reid said in a statement released Thursday.

“This is not a game,” the statement said. “It is the height of irresponsibility for any individual or entity in a position of power or influence to glorify or romanticize such a dangerous individual, and anyone who has done so should come to their senses and immediately condemn Bundy. For their part, national Republican leaders could help show a united front against this kind of hateful, dangerous extremism by publicly condemning Bundy.”

Yikes. A “hateful racist” and “dangerous individual”. Harry Reid ain’t playing around; he wants Cliven Bundy’s head on a platter (figuratively speaking. Or maybe literally).

At first glance, it seems like Bundy has performed the unforgivable sin of modern America: being racist. Has he shown his true neo-nazi white-supremacist colors?

Not so fast. This is a classic case of selective editing. The NYT and other left-wing outlets made sure to publish his comments pertaining to slavery and picking cotton… but there was more in his speech that was not published. They purposefully did not publish his further comments, because they revealed the truth of the matter:

… and so what I’ve testified to you — I was in the Watts riot, I seen the beginning fire and I seen that last fire. What I seen is civil disturbance. People are not happy, people are thinking they don’t have their freedoms, they didn’t have these things, and they didn’t have them.

We’ve progressed quite a bit from that day until now, and we sure don’t want to go back. We sure don’t want the colored people to go back to that point [slavery]. We sure don’t want these Mexican people to go back to that point. And we can make a difference right now by taking care of some of these bureaucracies, and do it in a peaceful way.

I’ll drink to that. *Clink*. This is positively libertarian (although Bundy himself is not necessarily a libertarian). He hits the nail on the head: All men are created equal and want freedom, regardless of race, and that governments are the worst transgressors of taking away freedom, and that freedom should be reclaimed peacefully.

Remember the bit earlier about slavery? Here was what he said immediately following those:

You know they didn’t get more freedom, they got less freedom — they got less family life, and their happiness — you could see it in their faces — they wasn’t happy sitting on that concrete sidewalk. Down there they was probably growing their turnips — so that’s all government, that’s not freedom.

Bundy is not saying that black folks should be re-enslaved for their own good. He clearly said “we don’t want to go back to that point.” He’s saying that poor black communities are unhappy living in permanent psychological slavery to the welfare state, and that it’s obvious by just looking into the hood. It’s a case of moving from the frying pan, to the other frying pan; moving from physical slavery to psychological welfare slavery. Not much better. This is what makes it such a sin to discuss this with modern Progressives: because it pulls back the curtain on the welfare state, which Progressives consider the political equivalent of Jesus Christ. Questioning government welfare is to question the very basis of their faith: the Religion of the State, with politicians and bureaucrats as the providers of food, healing, and political salvation.

He goes on to make a few more comments:

Now, let me talk about the Spanish people. You know, I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders. But they’re here and they’re people — and I’ve worked side by side a lot of them.

Don’t tell me they don’t work, and don’t tell me they don’t pay taxes. And don’t tell me they don’t have better family structures than most of us white people. When you see those Mexican families, they’re together, they picnic together, they’re spending their time together, and I’ll tell you in my way of thinking they’re awful nice people. And we need to have those people join us and be with us not, not come to our party.

Bundy lays it all on the line: he respects Mexican immigrants, he respects their hard work-ethic, and he admires how much they value the importance of family. He straight up says “we need to have these people join us”.

Bundy is no “hateful racist”. He makes it clear: Men want freedom and family, regardless of color, and they get unhappy when the government sabotages these things. Could Bundy have worded his statement more clearly? You bet. But anyone wringing hateful racism out of Bundy’s comments is doing so under false pretenses.

The Bundy Affair has been interesting to watch. Most interesting of all has been the reaction from the Left, epitomized by Senator Reid and his reference to Bundy supporters as “domestic terrorists” even though all protests on the Bundy ranch have been 100% peaceful. Bundy represents something that terrifies people like Harry Reid: an increasing willingness from Average Joes to resist the whims of power-drunk federal bureaucracies. It’s all fun and games pushing around regular people, until those people start pushing back a little bit.

For Bundy, this case is unfortunately far from over. Where snipers and SWAT teams could not prevail, endless legal fees and time wasted in the court system may overcome. We will have to see how this plays out, in the long term.

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