SACRAMENTO, April 28, 2014 — Cliven Bundy is a man who works on the land, a throwback to a time when everybody’s collar was blue. He is a societal dinosaur who probably lives and thinks much like his ancestors who grazed cattle going back to the 19th Century.
Donald Sterling is a wealthy real estate developer who owns luxury condo buildings and the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. Donald Sterling is a media-savvy, 21st century billionaire.
Both men were caught making comments that can only be described as racist.
Bundy said that with all of the problems in the black community — from unmarried women raising families to the generational welfare state Bundy has seen in his narrow exposure to the Black community — perhaps they were better off under slavery.
Sterling, who is married, was recorded by his young Latina-black girlfriend saying that he did not want her posting photos of herself with black people, in particular basketball great Magic Johnson, or attending Clippers games with blacks, including Magic.
Sterling has been caught before not only making racially insensitive remarks, but engaged in discrimination against blacks and Hispanics who sought to rent properties from him.
Condemnation of both men was swift and severe, but there is a difference. Bundy has no one to answer to. His remarks, while insensitive and wrong, have not resulted in anyone coming forward to say that he ever acted in a hateful or discriminatory manner toward any person of color.
Sterling, however, could find himself in deep trouble with the National Basketball Association, up to the point that he may, like Marge Schott before him, be forced to sell the Clippers.
The First Amendment forbids the government to restrict free speech. There is no constitutional right to free speech in a corporation. The NBA can sanction Sterling as they see fit. Players can refuse to play for the team. Fans can refuse to fill the seats.
We can dismiss both of these men as ranting ignoramuses, but there is a pervasive ideological bigotry that attributes Bundy’s insensitive remarks to his politics, while the politics of Sterling — who has donated money to politicians such as former California Governor Gray Davis, one of the only politicians to ever be recalled — are a detail uninteresting to the liberal media.
Bundy became a hero to conservatives for standing up to a bullying federal government. While Bundy’s position is legally tenuous, he was handed the moral high ground when federal government workers came in like storm troopers. A tense standoff that thankfully did not turn into another Waco or Ruby Ridge.
When Bundy was caught making racist statements, liberals could barely contain their glee. The opportunity to paint Bundy, his supporters, and by extension all conservatives as racists was the stuff of liberal dreams.
Bundy is one man, yet he’s being made a symbol for the entire conservative ideology.
To make matters worse for his supporters, his comments shifted the debate away from the very legitimate issue of government overreach and harassment of private citizens. The issue is no longer government and rights, but instead personalities. The issue is Bundy, and now he’s a weapon for liberals to use against those people who, according to President Obama, “cling to guns and religion.”
Sterling is not the first billionaire liberal to pretend to support minorities but privately holds them in contempt. He will not be the last. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made racist comments about Obama, the media ignored the story. When Vice President Joe Biden spoke about the number of Indians working at 7-11, the gaffe was dismissed with liberal laughs of “That’s just Joe being Joe.”
When Bundy made his statements, many conservatives immediately disavowed him, even as others continued to stand up for him. Just once it would be good if liberals discussing the issue of race could manage some intellectual honesty. But with or without that honesty, if Donald Sterling’s political leanings are irrelevant to his racist statements, so are Cliven Bundy’s.
There is no excuse for the remarks that either man made. Stupidity knows no ideology; idiocy is non-partisan. When the liberal media finally grasps this, they will not be held in as low esteem as Sterling and Bundy.
The story on government overreach in Nevada should not go away because Bundy said something stupid. He does not deserve to lose his ranch, or for his cattle to be shot, because he said something stupid.
The left is obsessed with “fairness” and “justice.” When they start practicing these concepts with regards to ideology, they will become slightly less hypocritical and toxic for political discussion in America.