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Congratulations to Cliven Bundy, released from prison on January 8. Feds imprisoned you for a long time. Now a federal court stands with you on matters of procedure.

Thank you, Judge Navarro. Judge Navarro’s clearly stated ruling suggests federal prosecutors, and the FBI, do not believe rules of criminal procedure apply to them. Perhaps they are so confident of victory, they do whatever they like, and expect the judge to go along with it. Either that, or they are incompetent. God knows the feds have demonstrated incompetence in the past, but this time, it appears they expected the judge to overlook the way they do business. Court observers reported they looked stunned when Navarro dismissed their case, with prejudice.

Further, I wanted to learn why Bundy’s opponents consistently call him racist, the sort of epithet you use to cast someone into the basket of deplorables. Not only is he racist, activists claim, his movement is racist. His resistance to federal land management policies is racist. I don’t see any connection at all between resistance to land management policies and racism.

I suppose if you are a Harvard professor who becomes a cabinet member, you can say sensitive things. If you are a Nevada rancher without a degree, enemies remind you to stay away from subjects like that.

So I looked up the connection, and find that back in 2014, Bundy made comments that federal policies have undermined many black families. That’s obvious. Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan controversially made the same point fifty years ago. Today most people agree with him. I suppose if you are a Harvard professor who becomes a cabinet member, you can say sensitive things. If you are a Nevada rancher without a degree, enemies remind you to stay away from subjects like that.

Bundy did say he wondered whether blacks would be better off under slavery. That was a mistake, and he admitted it. In making his case against the federal government, he stepped on the biggest explosive device in American politics: improper comments about race. If you don’t want to be called a racist, it’s best to steer clear of arguments related to black social and economic life. Even black leaders get in trouble if they talk about the subject in the wrong way. President Obama set the example here: if you don’t have to talk about the subject, don’t. If you do have to talk about the subject, change the subject as quickly as possible.


Related articles

The Moynihan Report: An Annotated Edition

Cliven Bundy (Wikipedia)