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Why we conservatives are still getting it wrong with Bundy

By Crystal Wright
updated 1:25 PM EDT, Fri April 25, 2014
  • Conservative writer Crystal Wright is outraged by her party's embrace of racist rancher Bundy
  • Her followers on Twitter have tried to make excuses for Bundy's comments
  • Some conservatives initially applauded Bundy's stand against the federal government
  • Wright: "The real insult is Bundy never should have been embraced in the first place"

Editor's note: Crystal Wright is a conservative writer who runs the blog She also is a principal at the Baker Wright Group, a communications and public relations firm. You can follow her on Twitter @GOPBlackChick. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- I don't know what's more offensive: rancher Cliven Bundy telling blacks they'd be better off as slaves picking cotton or conservatives who continue to defend him.

Not only were his comments racist, but under no stretch of the imagination could anyone argue blacks were better off during slavery with no rights, working for free and being held the property of white people.

I tweeted my outrage at Bundy's remarks, who by the way is a Republican, and to my surprise many of my followers excused his behavior, tweeting things like:

"I don't think he's a racist. Just old school."

More like Cliven Bundy is "an old school racist" is what I responded.

Others tweeted things like I "needed to go back and watch the clip with an open mind."

Or that "the Cliven issue is about Federal overreach please don't follow libs and make it about race."

I've watched the clip many times with a very open mind and each time I come to the same conclusion: Bundy is a racist.

If slavery was such a great institution and better than being on welfare, as Bundy declared, why doesn't Bundy go back in time, become a slave and pick cotton for plantation owners without getting paid? He needs a history lesson about the horrors of slavery and why "we blacks" no longer call ourselves Negros.

Crystal Wright
Crystal Wright

I'm glad to see many conservatives swiftly condemned Bundy's comments. But the real insult to injury for me as a black conservative woman is they never should have embraced him in the first place.

Conservatives are supposed to be the party that believes in adhering to the Constitution and the laws of our land. We talk about this to the point of obsession, myself included, with regard to issues like immigration, affirmative action, Obamacare, etc.

Yet conservatives of all kinds couldn't wait to support Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who for over 20 years has refused to follow the laws of our land and Constitution by not paying over $1 million in grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management.

CNN's Chris Cuomo pointed this out to Bundy in his interview Friday, reminding him that he might want to read the Constitution he carries in his pocket.

The federal government owns 85% of Nevada's land. In other western states the federal government also owns large swaths of land. Is it government overreach? Sure.

But the way to tackle that government overreach is -- as members of Congress, conservative media personalities and others know very well -- to introduce legislation to fix it.

Cliven Bundy: I'm not a racist
Bodyguard would take bullet for Bundy
Cliven Bundy: Life in the media

One doesn't just wake up one morning like Cliven Bundy did and decided he's not going to follow the laws of our land. There are lots of laws I don't like -- most notably paying taxes -- but I follow them because I don't want to go to jail.

As BLM rangers tried to confiscate Bundy's 500 cattle for his disobeying the law, Bundy joined about 50 other supporters, many of whom were armed with guns and refused to yield.

And conservatives like Sean Hannity and Sen. Rand Paul cheered him on in his defiance. Then Bundy reveals himself as a racist.

The entire Bundy affair just makes the Republican Party look bad. Are all Republicans racist? Absolutely not. But many overwhelming came out in support of this lunatic.

I think it's an awful day for conservatives. I think we need serious reflection because we're not going to win 2016 with this attitude, keep doing things the same old way. We have old white men saying offensive things to women and minorities, and I'm tired of it.

At a time when the GOP needs to bring more minorities into our tent -- along with women for that matter -- embracing fools like Bundy doesn't help and certainly will put us farther down the path of losing in 2016.

I've said it over the past five years, but it continues to fall on deaf ears: The Republican Party at all levels from political organizations to offices of members of Congress needs to do a better job hiring blacks. Not to do "black or minority outreach" but to do the same jobs your white staffers are doing.

Maybe if the GOP would stop treating blacks as "others" and really give us a seat at the table, it would stop acting like the stupid party and start winning presidential elections again.

But, sadly, I won't hold my breath.

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