On Feb. 2, the 2015 session of the Nevada Legislature will begin. In Nevada and several other states, Republicans have taken control of governorships and state legislatures as well as both houses of the U.S. Congress. Republicans have promised us that now that they are in control, things will get back on the right track, the direction of the country will turn around and everything will be sunshine and roses. Remember when President Ronald Reagan promised us “Morning in America?” What we got was a tripled national debt and the most scandal-ridden administration ever with over 138 investigations, indictments or convictions of administration officials, the largest number for any U.S. president. That is the kind of reform Republicans actually bring.
Reagan taught Republicans that they were victims, no matter how much of a majority they held or how much they were in control. A perfect example of a modern Republican and how they think is Ira Hansen. He’s a Republican member of the Nevada State Assembly. Hansen was going to be selected as the new Speaker of the Nevada Assembly. However, 13 years of columns that he wrote for the Sparks Tribune beginning on May 11, 1994, were recently brought to light, and Hansen’s own words have come back to haunt him. Hansen believes he is being persecuted because of his political beliefs. He refuses to acknowledge that he is being judged by his own words.
Here are a few quotes from his columns.
Regarding African-Americans: “The shrewd and calculating [black] ‘leaders’ are willing to sacrifice the children of their own race to gratify their lust for power and position. The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies.”
“The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.”
Regarding women: “Today, when Army men look at women in the ranks with ‘longing in their eyes’ it very well may constitute ‘sexual harassment.’ The truth is, women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields.”
Regarding Israel and its Christian supporters: “The success of the Israeli propaganda machine, aided and abetted by many duped Christian simpletons in the United States…”
When these columns were revealed, Hansen said, “The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record.” Whatever anyone thinks of these words, they were not manufactured by anyone; they are his, and he must own them.
Besides being perpetual victims, Republicans often seem to believe that any law or regulation that doesn’t let them do whatever they want whenever they want is an infringement on their liberties. Gun worshippers who elevate the Second Amendment above everything, including the rest of the Constitution, are one example. A gun background check initiative has been submitted to the Nevada legislature. This initiative is supported by over 80 percent of Nevadans, but the gun worshippers don’t care. Many have explicitly said they will break the law, on purpose, if passed. So much for gun owners saying they are all “law-abiding” citizens. Apparently that only counts if you like the laws.
In Weld County, Colo., Sheriff John Cooke said regarding enforcement of federal laws, “It’s not (the judge’s) job to tell me what I can and can’t enforce.” For those who are unaware, the position of sheriff is not found in the Constitution. The position of judge is: Article Two, Section Two. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land (Article Six, Clause Two); no sheriff has authority above the Constitution. But too many Republicans think that if they behave like toddlers throwing a tantrum, they’ll eventually wear everyone out and get to do whatever they want. If someone believes a law is unjust, they should be willing to work peacefully to get that law changed. Threatening federal officials is not the way.
The modern conservative mindset says that no matter what decisions they make, no matter who gets hurt, they are the victims. Ira Hansen is a perfect example of this. He has done this to himself, but he now sees it as a vast plot to stop him from being an effective member of the Assembly. He may not have been chosen Speaker of the Nevada Assembly, but the fact that the Republicans even considered putting him in that important position speaks volumes about their attitude.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.