Suddenly, not so racist anymore (AP)

Suddenly, not so racist anymore (AP)

Former President Bill Clinton, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, Cliven Bundy, and the Bureau of Land Management walk into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says, “Sounds like an episode of ‘Consider This!'”

Indeed it is, and it’s one in which I find common ground with Clinton and Young, but manage to tie that together with Bundy’s slavery remarks. Really. It can be done.

It seems that it makes a difference who is proposing voter ID as to whether or not doing so is automatically racist. It also seems like if someone is a racist, then larger issues take a back seat (if they get a seat at all). OK, enough said. I’m tipping my hand.

Mentioned links:

[Podcast Review] “Consider This” Podcast with Doug Payton [The Freelance Spotlight]

Bill Clinton on voter ID: Why not solve the problem by putting a photo on every Social Security card?

Conservatives begin backing away after Cliven Bundy’s remarks disparaging ‘the Negro’

Racist Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy Reveals the Depths of Conservative White Supremacism Denial

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Show transcript

What do former Democratic President Bill Clinton, former Democratic mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young, and I have in common? We’re all racists who hate the poor. Well, we’re all in favor of voter ID, which is, according to many Democrats like Attorney General Eric Holder, the same thing.

Clinton and Young both came out for the same solution to the (according to many Democrats) “fake” problem of voter fraud. They each suggested that Social Security cards be issued with photos so identity can be confirmed. This is almost precisely the same solution that conservatives have been suggesting all along; a free ID that includes a photo.

The only difference here is that this would be a national photo ID and could easily become a de facto national ID card that may be presented after a request like, “Your papers, please?” States run elections, not the feds, so the states should be the ones that deal with this. And most voters already have a state-issued driver’s license, which is good enough for those 34 states that already have voter ID laws. No need to make people carry around one more card. And really, how many of us even know where our social security card is, let alone want it in your wallet. Talk about an ID thief’s utopia. Democrats, it  seems, have a predisposition for national solutions rather than local ones, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Now, however, I’m waiting for the head explosions of those folks who have been trying to convince us all that voter ID laws are nothing but racist attempts to silence minority votes. I guess since Clinton and Young are Democrats, now it’s OK. Amazing how politics can change that.

The story of one rancher’s struggle against the government out in Nevada caught some headlines a while back. Cliven Bundy insisted that the land he was grazing his cattle on had been in his family for generations, and he didn’t recognize the federal government’s claim to it. He continued to graze his cattle on it without paying the Bureau of Land Management fees to do so. In court, he lost 3 times. Finally, to aid in collecting his outstanding $1 million  in debt, the BLM took some of the cattle that were on their land. That led to something of a standoff.

Some conservatives, like Fox News’ Sean Hannity, took up for Bundy, while others, like Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and Tucker Carlson, thought Bundy was in the wrong. Both noted that, if you believe in the rule of law, Bundy had no legal ground to stand on. But all though that, the BLM was over-reacting and should have handled the situation better. Snipers were a bit much.

Bundy, apparently loving the media attention, took to giving regular press conferences. Unfortunately, some of his, shall we say, less than stellar ideas on unrelated topics came out in them. In one, Bundy said that government assistance had made dependents of African-Americans, and that they used to have a better family life…under slavery. Yeah, he really said that, though he had a different word for “African-American”.

Was what he said racist? Well, comparing social issues now to those under slavery does prove one thing; the guy has no idea what life was like under slavery. But that makes him ignorant, not automatically racist. Heck, even Lyndon Johnson acknowledged that dependence on government was going to be a result of the Great Society, going as far as saying that African-Americans would vote Democrat for the following 200 years, though he, too, had a different word for “African-American”; one that, these days, is far more offensive than Bundy’s word.

But while the reaction to Bundy’s comment, on both sides of the aisle, has been rejection, the Left have turned the attention solely to those remarks and away from the actual issue of federal land management and the BLM’s overreaction. Bundy’s a racist, therefore they can ignore the other substantive issues. I have a link in the show notes to an example of an opinion article in the New Republic where the only issue discussed is Bundy as a person, rather than the issues that were brought up. Let’s have an honest discussion about what Bundy did, both right and wrong, but an ignorant comment does not mean the BLM is suddenly completely innocent of all charges.

Which brings me to the topic of what these stories have in common.

The charge of racism has been used by the Left, for decades, to shut down debate. After making that charge, no further thought is necessary. “You’re evil, so we’re done here.” This tactic has been used against the proponents of voter ID, as well as individuals like Cliven Bundy. Racism must be called out when it is found, absolutely no doubt about it. But in both these cases, that charge was used to shut down discussion. The proof that is has become more politicized by Democrats is that, when Democrats support ideas that conservatives have been accuses of racism for, the hue and cry quiet down immediately. I’m looking for examples of these charges being leveled at Clinton and Young, but hold not thy breath. And making the land management story about one rancher with an ignorant view of history rather than the real issues, it is again shutting down debate. Imagine these guys on the high school debate team. “You’re a racist!”, and they win. Or at least they think they win.

This is what conservatives have been talking about when they say the Race Card is played. Charges of racism shut down discussion. And these are two examples of such behavior; Bundy in the playing of it, and Clinton and Young showing the disingenuousness of it; that politics was more the reason it was used than actual attitudes.

Filed under: GovernmentLaw EnforcementRace IssuesVoter ID