Cliven Isn’t the Only One

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has caused  a stir, talking all that racist stuff.

But the “outrage” expressed by his Republican buddies seems a bit disingenuous, and their distancing themselves from him publicly is nothing more than politics at its best … or worst …depending on who you are talking with and in what venue.

Cliven Bundy wonders if black people were not better off being slaves.  He said, “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,” he was quoted as saying. (

And everybody is in a tizzy. For what? Because of what he said, or because he said it OUT LOUD, exposing the way many white people probably talk in private?

I have had so many white people talk to me, with hushed voices, about how bad the racism is, about how many white people hate President Obama, and about how so many white people are anxious to “take the country back” from …black people.

According to these folks with whom I have talked, many of these people are obsessed with “saving” America from the influence of being governed by a black man. They are worried that Mr. Obama’s foreign policy has made him come off as weak, thereby plunging the country into morbid danger. They believe that the rise in Americans receiving food stamps, due to the break of the American economy, speaks to the president’s deficits and the danger of “big government,” although it was the economic policies of the previous, Republican administration that drove our country nearly to the depths of economic despair.

“All they want,” one white woman said to me, “is to get that black man out of the White House. They can’t see the good he’s done for the simple reason their vision is clouded by their hatred of him, just because he’s black. They’re afraid that he’s done too much for ‘the blacks,” and not enough for white people.”

Enter Mr. Bundy. Say what you want, Bundy might very well have spilled the conversation content of many a cocktail party attended by the very rich. “Big government” seems to be a government which attends to the needs of the underclass, and rich people seem to resent that, like poor people are getting something for nothing, and off their backs.

I guess they don’t see how it is the labor of the poor people who have propelled their corporations into economic bliss, even while the poor people become poorer.

Bundy said, “maybe I sinned.” But, he quickly added, he said what he meant. It’s in his heart, this opinion about what “the Negro” is like, and how blacks are lazy and how they abort their children and will not work…And …he added that if “those people” cannot take hearing what is his truth (I am paraphrasing), then Martin Luther King hasn’t done his work.


Racism and white supremacy and the desire to hold onto it smolders right under the surface of the American psyche.  Every now and then somebody messes up and says out loud what is often said in private.

That’s what happened with good ol’ Mr. Bundy.

He’ll smart a little, but white Conservatives will never leave him. He’s a rich white man with a lot of resources. They might smack him on the wrists, and their strategists are probably telling them to distance themselves from  Bundy for the sake of the upcoming mid-term elections – not for the sake of the people he offended.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bundy will continue to be a welfare rancher, letting his cattle feed on land owned by the federal government. He has a subsidized ranch, seems to me, and it’s no less a drain on the federal coffers than is public housing or food stamps.

Thing is, he can afford to eat. He hasn’t paid for that land in years and owes millions. He won’t go to jail, or probably even get a fine. That, while blacks who have committed non-violent drug crimes are languishing in prison …making even more white people rich via the Prison Industrial Complex.

So, I’m not surprised at what Bundy said. He is giving voice to a lot of people who have wanted to say just that for a long time.

People get uptight if anyone says anything about racial inequality and injustice in this nation. As soon as anyone says anything about those phenomenon, describing how some policies absolutely work against black people,  we are playing “the race card.”

He played it like a champ. I suppose he is. And he’s not going to change and he’s not sorry. Neither are the Republicans who are voicing outrage.


Republicans, your outrage rings hallow because of your actions and policies. You have been so interested in making Mr. Obama a one-term president that you have felt free, in fact, compelled, to talk in private about how you feel about this race thing.

Damn Bundy! You let the cat out of the bag, in this, our post-racial society.

Who’s going to get it back in? The cat is running freely…

A candid observation…

Gingrich a Grinch

I have held off saying anything for as long as I could. I have been …meditating …on how to talk about …Newt.

You know, as in Gingrich. The now-leading GOP presidential candidate hopeful.

I nearly ran off the road when I heard his comments on the radio – something to the effect that poor kids have no work ethic because they don’t see anyone who works, and that they should become janitors in their schools, or maybe junior janitors.

My first thought was, “How arrogant! Has he been in a poor neighborhood, where parents often work 2-3 jobs, usually minimum wage with no benefits – and still can’t make ends meet? Has he been in poor neighborhoods dominated by slum landlords who charge exorbitant rent for habitats that are one step removed from shanties? Has he been in neighborhoods where there is no local supermarket and where many people cannot afford cars, so children are forced to eat horrible food gotten from the local corner store …which also charges too much?

I would bet not.

But then, I thought along a different line. If the children in poor neighborhoods became the janitors, where would the current janitors work – people who are trying to make a living and provide for their families?

Did he think of that? Would he even think to think of that?

The fact is, Gingrich, like so many white and privileged people, relies on stereotypes and generalizations. He, and others like him, speak on what they assume to be true. The “poor people” of whom he speaks (he and people like Limbaugh, Hannity, Bachmann, Coulter and others) are not even worthy of a personal investigation of why they are where they are, and how difficult it has been to get out and move up in a society which spurns them.

The fact is, many kids seldom see their parents because those parents do have a work ethic and they work their fingers to the bones, at the expense of their families. How many poor kids have come up saying that their parents worked two and three jobs, that their mothers were so tired after working that they would sit at the kitchen table and fall asleep? No, everyone doesn’t have the same work ethic, but some of them do not because they have given up. They have tried and tried to get good employment, to no avail and have stopped trying.

All kinds of people these days, who would not call themselves “poor,” or wouldn’t have called themselves “poor” before now, know what it feels like to try to work and get rejected, over and over. After a while, people stop trying.

Gingrich might be an intellectual, but he’s an insensitive and calloused and prejudiced intellectual who has no business wanting to be president of a country where there are more and more people who do not have work.  A president is supposed to care for everyone, including “the least of these.” Donald Trump defended Gingrich’s statements, and said Barack Obama had not done anything for “people in the ghetto.”

Oh, how the cries of “socialist” would have been even louder had the president put his focus there!

Michelle Bachmann says that “the American people” are gravitating to the views of Hannity, Limbaugh, and people who, I suppose, think like Gingrich. Clearly, “the American people” of whom she speaks are white, privileged Americans who think the poor – primarily black and brown people – are not worthy of time or respect.

Gingrich was out of line. His arrogance is repugnant …and surely, “the American people” would not want such a divisive character to lead this country, the so-called, “land of the free and home of the brave,” poor people included.

A candid observation …

Gingrich a Grinch © 2011 Candid Observations