Cliven and Friends

Kathleen Parker in her column in the Washington Post (April 27 2014) seeks to put some distance between the Republican Party and Cliven Bundy, the tax-dodging rancher who recently suggested in public that black people would be better off as slaves. She mentions a whole bunch of Republicans who have done the same as her, including Rand Paul, although, as Maureen Dowd said in her column in the Times, it took him more than a day to get around to it.

It is a real problem for the Republicans, because they are without doubt the largest party of racism in America. I will leave out the fringe groups, not because they don’t matter, but because I don’t want them to get more internet hits. And I will not go into the ancient history in which all parties were racist.

Now Kathleen Parker is right when she says that not all Republicans are racist. But the truth is that the Republicans have played the race card ever since the passage of the Civil Rights Act under Lyndon Johnson. That was what Richard Nixon’s Law and Order campaign was really all about. (Nixon was of course both racist and anti-semitic). Fast forward to the ruthless and racist attack on Michael Dukakis when he was running against GHW Bush for President. And of course today we have the compounding of racist religious hatred that motivates the drooling, livid right wing attack on Barack Obama, which overflows into so-called respectable Republican rhetoric about how foreign his policies are.

Being the only major party where racism has any kind of home is not the only difficulty the Republicans face. They are also the party of ignorance. It is among their candidates that you will scarcely find a single one that admits to the scientific validity of evolution or the human responsibility for global warming. It is the Republicans who are signing up to block any studies on gun violence funded by the government.

But let us get back to Mr. Bundy. A self-styled libertarian, living in the heart of America, protected from any real danger by the immense power of the United States government, he thinks it is OK to freeload off public land and threaten government officials with firearms. Where’s the reciprocity? And then, supposedly valuing his own liberty, he thinks that black people would be content with slavery? It could be that he thinks they are not human. Or maybe he is just a hypocrite; just a suggestion.

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