It must be human nature which causes us to support a person when we mean to support a principle. Writers encourage this because without readers the whole exercise of writing is rather pointless. Readers encourage it too because, in all honesty, there is a lot written which is an insult to ink. Once a reader finds a writer who can be depended upon for well reasoned argument, he doesn’t want to sift through the rabble. All this is understandable, but when the author stumbles or disappoints, the entire message can be lost. It is not just authors, but public figures, persons holding important positions and those carried along by compelling stories. Authors have recourse through the pseudonym or “nom de plume, (the pen name).” By using this device, the author can protect the message from his own foibles.
The public figure and those thrown into the limelight enjoy no such protection. In his brief moment of fame, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s star burned brightly. Bundy took a stand for the sovereignty of the state government in our federal system. Most conservatives understand that the framers of the US Constitution intended for the government closest to the people to have the greatest power. However in modern times, most local governments have come to see themselves as a franchisee or field office of the federal government. Bundy’s appeals to his local sheriff fell on deaf ears. Fortunately, local citizens rallied to the cry and, in a great surprise to many in the media, the feds backed down. If only the story could have ended there.
Shortly after the standoff, Cliven Bundy publicly made some remarks using vocabulary which is no longer politically tolerated. We use the term “politically incorrect” because the enforcers of ‘politically correct’ language would not want to be called “politically intolerant.” The story was not getting much traction until Don Sterling, owner of the NBA Clippers, in a private conversation with his girlfriend, almost 5 decades his junior, made comments which were obviously racist. Sterling’s girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, made the private conversation public.
Leftist operatives immediately went to work conflating Sterling’s obviously racist private remarks with Bundy’s inartfully stated public remarks. Bundy was immediately labeled a racist and tragically, his cause – defense of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments was abandoned by conservatives everywhere. The message fell with the messenger. What a shame.
The truth of the matter is that Bundy’s remarks were not only not racist, but were in sympathy to the plight of inner city blacks. The two great errors in Bundy’s remarks were that he referred to black people, African-Americans, as “negroes” and used “cotton picking” as a euphemism for useful work. This made the left’s hair catch on fire. Paraphrasing to remove the offensive language, what Bundy said was that inner city blacks, consigned to welfare, engage in no useful work and that he wondered if they had not been better cared for as plantation slaves than as wards of the welfare state. The criticism was of a federal government which did not value the ability of inner city blacks to provide for themselves and become productive members of society.
But the taint of an accusation of racism drove a wedge between Bundy and those who had supported his cause. This tactic was so successful that no one dared even point out that Bundy spoke in defense of inner city blacks on welfare. You would think the place was on fire. No one could find the exits fast enough.
The left never tires of calling for a frank discussion on race, but they just want to talk down to us. Are we to believe they want a dialogue which would point out that it was Democrats who enslaved black Africans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Are we to believe they want a dialogue which would point out that it was Democrats who donned hoods, terrorized African-Americans and kept them from the polls in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Are we to believe the left really wants a dialogue which would point out that it is Democrats in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who keep Black Americans on the welfare plantation of government housing, voting in a block for more subsidies and handouts? No, the left does not want a dialogue. They want a compliant constituency and a silent and submissive opposition.
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An uplifting post script:
Sometimes the message rises above all and is victorious. Witness the recent defeat of well known House Majority Leader, seven term Republican congressman Eric Cantor by a politically unknown economics professor from the almost equally obscure Randolph-Macon College.
Dave Brat, referred to as a Tea Party candidate by most of the media, pulled off a double digit surprise victory. No national Tea Party funded his campaign. In fact, Brat was outspent by anywhere from 15 to 1 to, as some reported, 50 to 1. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but anything in this range would be astounding.
That national Tea Party organizations did not pour in substantial financial support is not relevant; numerous local Tea Party activists worked in Brat’s campaign. The point to take away is that the message, reasonably well delivered and spread by grass-roots activists, can overcome a heavily financed, well known seven term congressman in a position of leadership. Tea Party activists nationwide should be inspired.