NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

May 3, 2014

Anderson: Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling and race

Last month I wanted to become a cowboy to help save rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from the cattle-rustlin’ federal government.

As my column ran, media interest was picking up on federal western land grabs. Breitbart had reported that Texans are concerned about the Bureau of Land Management’s focus on 90,000 acres along the Texas/Oklahoma border, a possible federal takeover/ownership of privately held lands that have been deeded property for generations of Texas landowners. But then, major distraction:

Nevada’s Bundy, apparently having found that the media would listen to anything he had to say, decided to give his opinion on welfare, stating that “the Negro”… living in nearby public housing… “didn’t have nothing to do…

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? 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.”

Well. Instead of being seen as a man of a certain generation using the word “Negro” instead of “African-American,” awkwardly and ungrammatically asking a rhetorical question, while clearly having a romanticized, “Old Kentucky home” notion of slavery, Cliven Bundy was immediately pronounced a racist, not only by the usual race-obsessed Democrats but by Republicans who had just been supporting his stand-up to the feds.

Adjectives flew from all-partisan politician and pundit pie-holes: “appalling, disgusting, despicable, repugnant.” Apologetic but unrepentant, Bundy released a statement that brought other-race welfare recipients into his argument: “The government dole which many people in America are on, and have been for much of their lives, is dehumanizing and degrading. It takes away incentive to work and self-respect. Eventually a person on the dole becomes a ward of the government, because his only source of income is a dole from the government. Once the government has you in that position, you are its slave.”

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