If you have never heard of a man called Cliven Bundy, you don`t have to worry for he is one of those none entities you are better off not knowing. He was not even known anywhere outside his small village in the state of Nevada, that is, until recently when he singlehandedly challenged the might of the U.S. federal government – and won, even if it is a pyrrhic victory!
Bundy`s story is that he has been grazing his herd of cattle on federal land for several years without paying the required fees to do so. In the process, he accumulated unpaid fees of about one million dollars. But, when the officers of government came to collect the debt a few weeks ago, Bundy refused to pay and went ahead to declare that he did not recognize the legitimacy of the U.S. government.
When the officers threatened to forcibly seize his cattle, they were shocked. Tens of hundreds people who hate the U.S. government sprung up from every corner to defend their member. These men and women were fully armed with deadly, assorted guns. They repeatedly told reporters they were ready to unleash mayhem should the federal officers attempt to arrest their hero or seize his cattle.
One of their leaders, a man who was a former law-enforcement officer, even came up with a war-plan. He said their ad-hoc group was willing to deploy women as human-shields in anticipation of the war against federal agents. Fortunately, the war did not take place. The federal officers did not attempt to cart away Bundy`s cattle. And, this man declared victory and became an instant hero and celebrity among his group of renegades and government-haters.
What is interesting about this man`s story is that he was propped up and given almost 24-hour media coverage by the conservative media, especially Fox News. And the chief publicist at Fox News is a self-styled redeemer of the conservative cause and program host known as Sean Hannity.
These media outlets so lavished precious air-time on Bundy that you thought he was a leading candidate in a U.S. presidential election. Of course, Republican politicians jostled to be the most vocal in associating themselves with Bundy, all for the benefit of being in the spotlight.
But, no sooner had all these happened, that Bundy revealed who he really was. His grouse against the U.S. government might well be a camouflage for his utter racist nature and hatred for African Americans, or Negro as he still calls them in this 21st century.
This is what Bundy who had emerged victorious against a Negro-led U.S. government, told reporters about his vision of American Negro community: “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I`ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?“
It was only after his racist comments came into the public domain that the legion of conservative politicians and talk-show hosts who had been backing Bundy began to systematically distance themselves from him. Top on the list of Republican politicians that had thrown their weight behind Bundy are two possible presidential contenders, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. They had planned to gain political capital out of Bundy`s stand-off against the federal government, only to realize that they were dealing with a possible racist lunatic.
But as the Bundy incident was taking the back seat in the news cycle, another grenade of racism exploded. This time it involved the owner of the Clippers basketball franchise and billionaire, Donald Sterling. It all began when his girlfriend posed for a photograph with legendary basketball star, Earvin “˜Magic` Johnson.
The man furiously told his girlfriend: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast (on Instagram) that you`re associating with black people“¦Don`t put him (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don`t bring him to my games.“ The irony is that Sterling is a real estate mogul who has “˜black people` renting his apartments, playing for his basketball team where the coach is a black man. His racist remarks have been causing phenomenal ripples of condemnation.
No one had the illusion that with Obama`s historic victory and becoming president, the shadows and echoes of racism would vanish from the U.S. But, there were expectations that another page would be turned where the American society would be less racist than it was prior to his ascension to power. However, things might even appear to be going the opposite direction.
I doubt if any living or dead American president ever received such volcano of personal insults as President Barack Obama has so far received. Perhaps too, at no time in the history of modern America has the federal government been so vilified and seen as an evil that must be avoided or crushed as we are now witnessing. And, no matter how much some people might want to argue, it is all because a “˜Negro` is the chief occupant at the White House. It is also not about blacks alone. Other minority share in this lunacy.
Uche Onyebadi: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/05/echoes-racism/