Racism is everywhere these days. Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is a racist. L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is a racist. Redskins owner Dan Snyder is a racist. “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson is a racist. And of course, every member of the tea party is clearly racist.
What the @#%& is going on?
It’s the media. Taking their marching orders from the White House and top Democrats, the media is playing up racism, looking to have an impact on not only the 2014 mid-term congressional elections, but the legacy of President Obama.
The Democrats are desperate — not a single Beltway pundit is predicting good things for the party this November. In fact, most are predicting a sound thumping, and many say the Democrats could well lose control of the Senate.
So it’s all snarling Democrats now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calling Mr. Bundy a “domestic terrorist,” and then made more personal attacks after the rancher mused about blacks and the welfare state. MSNBC hosts foam at the mouth over even the slightest perceived slight.
COVERAGE: Tea Party Voices
Tagging opponents — usually Republicans — with the label “racist” is a tried-and-true practice for Democrats, one that ends all debate for good. They did it with great success to the tea party (remember the allegations that a protester spit on a black member of Congress? It was a lie, but tea party members have been dismissed by the MSM ever since as hate-filled racists).
They did it again to Duck Dynasty’s patriarch. (To refresh, he said this back in December about his youth in the 1950s: “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once they’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word! Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
No question that Mr. Bundy was an odd hero for conservatives to choose. While he bristled at the federal government’s overbearing assault on his ranch, he is, in fact, a scofflaw. For 20 years, he failed to pay for grazing his cattle on federal land. He had one reason: “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing,” he said.
Then, he mused about the plight of black people in modern America. “Because they were basically on government subsidy — so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never, they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered are they were better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things? Or are they better off under government subsidy?”
Sure, not exactly profound, but he’s a Nevada rancher. Are his views widespread? No. Are they right? Certainly not — there’s nothing in the world that compares to slavery. But are they racist? For them to be racist, wouldn’t they have to portray some hatred, not for an individual, but for an entire race? You decide.
One thing is clear: The New York Times, which broke the story, didn’t offer the entire transcript of Bundy’s remarks. They edited them down, and every network that played the clips for hours and hours followed. But Mr. Bundy had said more: Left out of the Times report were two passages. In one, he talks about experiencing firsthand the Watts race riots in the 1960s, and says this: “We’ve progressed quite a bit from that day until now, and we sure don’t want to go back.” In another unquoted passage, he said of Hispanics: “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.”
So whatever Mr. Bundy’s bigger point was — the federal government is too powerful, states should control land in their own states — is now lost to the wind. Mr. Bundy is a racist, whatever he thinks doesn’t matter. (And forget the fact that one of his black bodyguards — he gets death threats — said: “Mr. Bundy is not a racist I would take a bullet for that man, if need be.”
Then along comes Mr. Sterling. A 38-year-old model, V. Stiviano, says she taped the team owner — in his 80s — during a racist rant. “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” he says to her in the tape.
“You can sleep with them. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on [Instagram] and not to bring them to my games.”
Racist? You decide. Listen to the tape yourself. To me, he’s an old man concerned about being cuckolded by his hot, young girlfriend, complaining about the pictures that prompt his friends to call him.
But watch the media — and the coverage. Is there racism in America? You bet — and there probably always will be in some pathetic pockets. But let’s be clear: A black man is now president. That says an awful lot about how far America has come, even from just 50 years ago, when Democrats on Capitol Hill were vehemently battling against the Civil Rights Act.
And watch Mr. Obama. Remember when allegations of racism emerged after the arrest of a black Harvard professor, caught breaking into a house that turned out to be his own? Admitting he didn’t know “all the facts,” he then said: “The Cambridge police acted stupidly.”
Halfway around the world, the compliant press asked Mr. Obama about the huge Clippers controversy: “When people — when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” he said.
“The United States continues to wrestle with a legacy of race and slavery and segregation that’s still there — the vestiges of discrimination.”
And that’s just what he’s hoping drives the 2014 elections — and his legacy.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.