Post Hansen Kerfuffle in Nevada Legislature

Hansen Sometimes it’s your friends.  In the case of Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R-NV32) it’s friends and some relatives. 

“John Wagner, the chairman of Nevada Independent American Party, which was founded by Ira Hansen’s father, Daniel Hansen, defended Ira Hansen Sunday and said he should not resign the speakership.  Wagner defended Hansen for a column the assemblyman wrote about civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“King’s private life was trashy at best,” Hansen wrote in a column for the Tribune. “King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud.” That does not make Hansen a racist, Wagner said.  “And I suppose if you criticize Jessie Jackson or if you criticize Al Sharpton, does that make you a racist today?” Wagner said.”  [RGJ]

Since when?  Let’s not conflate racism with ideological differences. Racism has a clear definition: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”    It’s entirely possible to criticize Reverend Jackson, or Reverend Sharpton without reference to their “innate inferiority,”  However, it’s impossible to dodge the racism inherent in the acceptance of the smear campaign to discredit Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and to discredit the modern civil rights movement as an attack on white supremacy.

“The problem is that racism isn’t reducible to “different treatment.” Since if it is, measures to ameliorate racial inequality—like the Voting Rights Act—would be as “racist” as the policies that necessitated them. No, racism is better understood as white supremacy—anything that furthers a broad hierarchy of racist inequity, where whites possess the greatest share of power, respect, and resources, and blacks the least.” [Slate]

The expression of this concept is illustrated by Assemblyman Hansen in one of his columns:

“He wrote that African-Americans are insufficiently grateful for being given their freedom: “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.” [NNR]

Lack of gratitude?  Deliberate ignoring?  How might that “gratitude” be expressed in a manner which would please Mr. Hansen?  Should it be that African Americans would “know their place” and remain ‘gratefully’ in it all the while thanking the White Masters for the ‘privilege’ of being human? Racism doesn’t get more blatant than in Mr. Hansen’s expression.  Assemblyman Hansen seems not to have traveled too far from his roots, from the Nevada Independent American Party, founded by his father, and recently adopted by none other than outlaw rancher Cliven Bundy. [Fox]

If the Nevada Republican Party leadership is uncomfortable with having a blatant racist in the Assembly speaker’s chair – who might be available?

Names such as Michele “Pistol Packing Mama” Fiore, of the Bundy Ranch Epic have emerged, along with those of Paul Anderson,  John Hambrick, and  Wes Duncan. [RGJ]

Fiore may be just a little too close to the Bundy Ranch business, which leads to thoughts of Cliven Bundy explaining why African Americans were better off as slaves, which leads the Nevada GOP right back to where it started with Assemblyman Hansen’s “ungrateful” scoundrels who won’t apologize for the modern civil rights movement.

Hambrick is a lesser known member of the Assembly representing District 2 (Summerlin) in Carson City.  His major contributors are the gaming industry, including the Sands, real estate interests and general contractors. [InfExp]  During the 2013 legislative session he was one of the co-sponsors of SB 520, section 14 of which provided criminal and civil immunity for a person who does not request a background check for a firearm sale – for “any act or omission that was taken in good faith and without malicious intent.”  AB 373, also sponsored by Hambrick, established a tax credit for donations to a school tuition organization (BDR 34-716).  In short, Hambrick has been a loyal, gun supporting, contractor supporting, private school supporting, and vote suppression supporting Republican regular.

Wesley Duncan, has proposed amending the state constitution to allow voucher schools, enacting the “Nevada Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” and enacting SB 378 from the last session, the Nevada Liberty Preservation Act.  This last item comes from the Right Wing Fever Swamp which at one point was Outraged! about two sections of the National Defense Authorization Act which allowed for the capture and detention of terrorists. The radical right was convinced the Obama Administration was about to round up the citizenry and open the detention camps. 

Assemblyman Paul Anderson has wanted the speakership before, and still wants it now.   He, too packs his NRA credentials on his sleeve, signing on to the Assembly support for SB 223AN ACT relating to concealed firearms; authorizing employees of the Nevada System of Higher Education or a private or public school who hold permits to carry concealed firearms to carry concealed firearms on school property under certain circumstances; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.”  As if what we need are more guns on more school campuses.  He, too, is a school privatization advocate.

The trick for the Assembly Republicans will be to find a speaker who doesn’t have a history of Fever Swamp Activity, who will be amenable to the ALEC program of corporate support, and who can convince the leadership that he or she won’t prove to be too big an embarrassment?

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