Bundy’s daughter, Shiree Bundy Cox—one of his 14 children—is striking back at conservatives who have turned tail on Bundy, especially Hannity. In a Facebook post Thursday night, she accused Hannity of abandoning her father and pandering to ratings. Here’s a snippet:
“I’m sure most of you have heard the news about my dad being called a racist. Wow! The media loves to take things out of context don’t they? First off I’d just like to say that my dad has never been the most eloquent speaking person. Like someone said, he’s a Moses who needs an Aaron to speak for him. This is true. Second, however, is that the media has turned this into a circus side show. It’s like their trying to throw us off the real subject. Why was this ever even brought up? What does this have to do with land rights issues? Sean Hannity was all for reporting the happenings at the Bundy Ranch until this popped up. I wonder if someone hoped it would be that way….By the way, I think Mr. Hannity is more worried about his ratings than he really is about what my dad said. If he supports a supposed racist, what will that do to his ratings? He’s already lost his #1 spot on Fox…
“Again I’d like to ask, ‘What does my dad’s opinion on the state of the Blacks on welfare have to do with the land rights issue?’ Nothing! It’s a detouring tactic. It’s taking away from the real issues and what has been accomplished. The mainstream media want this to happen to make people deviate from the real important things and focus on a comment that has absolutely no relevance. It’s a tactic that has been used for decades. I hope people will see this for what it really is.”
The 67-year-old Bundy, battling the U.S. government after federal agents stormed his ranch to confiscate his cattle in a dispute over grazing fees, said far more than what appeared in the New York Times and most other news accounts. While his grammar is pretty bad — and his use of “negro” and “colored” considered politically incorrect (although they were both once preferred terms chosen by blacks) — he actually was making a larger point, not simply deriding blacks.
In a YouTube video, he is filmed already in mid-sentence.
“… 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. 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.”
Those comments appear to change the context of the next section, which was quoted in the New York Times. One clear point the rancher made: America has progressed since the 1965 race riots and “we sure don’t want to go back.”
I really wanted to like Cliven Bundy. I really did. As I wrote earlier this month, the showdown at Bundy Ranch was part of a long-running—and very relevant—fight over the federal government’s control of land and resources in the West. In Bundy’s case, he and other ranchers got shortchanged in the 90s, when the government decided to use the land in question to protect the endangered desert tortoise, ending cattle grazing in exchange for allowing private developers to destroy other tortoise habitats. (Yes, you’re right, that does sound shady.) Bundy stopped paying federal grazing fees in protest, and for the past two decades has been illegally feeding his cattle on public land, racking up $1.1 million in unpaid fines in the process. It’s worth noting, though, that even if Bundy had paid, the government still would have forced him to remove his cows from the land, as they did with all of his rancher neighbors. Framed in those terms, it sounded like he had a legitimate beef…
There is nothing inherently racist about thinking that federal government shouldn’t control nearly 50 percent of the land in Western states. Nor, for that matter, is there anything inherently racist about opposing gun control laws, or wanting to audit the Federal Reserve. But wherever these issues arise, there is invariably a white guy with an American flag and a sidearm that wants to tell you what he knows about “the Negro.” And what could have been a meaningful, important debate about the size and scope of the federal government turns into yet another rant about black people on welfare and open borders…
What makes Bundy’s casual racism so treacherous—apart from all of its obvious terribleness—is that it’s put an end to a legitimately relevant and important policy debate about the federal government’s control of land and resources in the West. No one wants to talk about land policy—or anything for that matter—with a guy who thinks that black people were better off as slaves.
If slavery was such a great institution and better than being on welfare, as Bundy declared, why doesn’t Bundy go back in time, become a slave and pick cotton for plantation owners without getting paid? He needs a history lesson about the horrors of slavery and why “we blacks” no longer call ourselves Negros.
I’m glad to see many conservatives swiftly condemned Bundy’s comments. But the real insult to injury for me as a black conservative woman is they never should have embraced him in the first place.
Conservatives are supposed to be the party that believes in adhering to the Constitution and the laws of our land. We talk about this to the point of obsession, myself included, with regard to issues like immigration, affirmative action, Obamacare, etc.
Yet conservatives of all kinds couldn’t wait to support Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who for over 20 years has refused to follow the laws of our land and Constitution by not paying over $1 million in grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management.
Let me put it this way. I’ve had the privilege of speaking before the Greater Boston Tea Party on several occasions. Based on my interactions with their membership, I can tell you that if anyone had spoken like Bundy did at their meetings or rallies they would be persona non grata. Just like that. There are some things that cannot be countenanced under any circumstances and when such things rear their ugly head a line in the sand must be drawn…
[I]f the Obama Administration is responsible for a thousand tyrannies big and small across this country and just one of them warrant us to say “Enough!” or to stand athwart history, yelling Stop then is it too much to do so on behalf of someone with a character a bit more exemplary than that of Cliven Bundy?
If we conservatives are fighting to save this country from ruin then isn’t it incumbent upon us to choose our battles carefully?
[T]here is a pattern of conservatives embracing someone who is being bullied by the government or the mainstream media, and turning them into some sort of folk hero. But this “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy is dangerous…
It usually goes like this: Government or the media oversteps its bounds, conservatives embrace the un-vetted victim, who — once feted and promoted on cable TV and talk radio (this is good business for conservative media, allowing them to pander to their viewers and listeners, and drive their political agenda) — says or does something utterly stupid. Then, MSNBC (and other liberal outlets) then spend weeks covering the boomerang part of the story.
… And then we repeat the cycle a few months later. What almost always starts out as a boon for conservatives leaves them with egg on their face.
Conservatives do this to themselves. In the grand scheme of things — with scandals like Benghazi and topics like Iran to cover — should it matter that some rancher in Nevada is a racist? Should it matter what some random guy thinks about race relations? Of course, not! But it’s hard to make that argument after you’ve spent weeks building him up just so someone else can tear him down.
The Washington Post later obtained video of his remarks and it quotes him: “Where is our colored brother? Where is our Mexican brother? Where is our Chinese? Where are they? They’re just as much American as we are, and they’re not with us. If they’re not with us, they’re going to be against us.”
Mr. Bundy, weirdly, is onto something here. The rush to stand with Mr. Bundy against the Bureau of Land Management is the latest incarnation of conservative antigovernment messaging. And nonwhites are not interested, because a gut-level aversion to the government is almost exclusively a white phenomenon…
In 2012, when I attended the Republican National Convention, there was one phrase I heard over and over again: “You built it!” Republicans thought this was a clever rejoinder to President Obama’s comments that people should be thankful for the role that government plays in individual success. The comeback was not the blockbuster Republicans thought it would be, because America is not the overwhelmingly white country it once was.
Cliven Bundy gets that. Will Republicans?
“Maybe I sinned, and maybe I need to ask forgiveness, and maybe I don’t know what I actually said, but when you talk about prejudice, we’re talking about not being able to exercise what we think. … If I say Negro or black boy or slave, if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be (offended), then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet,” he told anchor Chris Cuomo on Friday, adding, “We need to get over this prejudice stuff.”
“I would take a bullet for that man if need be,” he said. “I believe in his cause, and after having met Mr. Bundy a few times, I have a real good feel about him and I’m a pretty good judge of character.”
“He’s shown me nothing but hospitality and he treats me as his own family,” Bullock added.