Don Young, Controversial Even For A Republican
John Boehner even denounced his racial slur.
Don Young, Representative from Alaska, is one of the longest serving House Republicans. When he was talking about migrant farm workers his family employed in California, he referred to them as “wetbacks”.
Terms that had a derogatory meaning, aiming a word or statement at a particular group, have been removed from the vocabulary of sensitive and caring men and women. But you can’t remove them from everyone’s mind.
When a politician utters a racial slur, or demeans an individual or group, he’s being honest when he later apologizes and said he “didn’t think before he spoke”. I believe it. He had simply spoken his true feelings without taking the second or two to change the words.
Speaker of the House John Boehner responded: “Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds. I don’t care why he said it — there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.”
The Republican National Committee has set as one of its priorities, luring Hispanics to the right side of the aisle. This probably won’t help.
But he’s not the first to speak his mind, and he won’t be the last. The Republican Party was led by a racist for 8 years. He used the more popular phrase, “those people, they’re not like us”.
Without question the TEA Party is racist. Their proposed actions are all directed at minorities and low-wage earners.
Representative Young has been involved in previous controversy.
In 1994 while debating then U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Mollie Beattie, he repeatedly pounded an 18 inch Walrus penis bone into his hand.
In 1995, while speaking to a group of high school students, he was questioning the use of federal funds to support art. Specifically citing Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs, he used crude language to describe the sexual content of his work. And he immediately refused to apologize.
In 2005 he backed the “bridge to nowhere” made famous by Senator Stevens and ½ governor Palin. He was chastised and when pressured to surrender those funds to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, he responded, ”They can kiss my ear.”
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that he was under federal investigation for his ties to the oil and gas company VECO.
In the same year he threatened another Republican congressman with the intent of “biting” him, “like the mink,” for opposing one of his earmarks.
He was investigated in 2008 and 2010 for his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Also in 2010 he made the statement about the BP oil spill in the gulf coast. He described it as “not an environmental disaster” but “a natural phenomena.”
He was investigated by the House Ethics Committee in 2011. Just over a week ago, here in 2013, the Committee is looking into his actions once again.
Congressman Young is obviously more inclined to take actions that fill his own pockets, than to improve the lives of his constituents. The uproar from his fellow Republicans about a poor choice of words may or may not be genuine.
I doubt their protests. Why was he not censured for his many unethical, and probably illegal acts in the past? If he is an example of a typical legislator, do each of them look away from each other’s “wrong-doings”?
Is this outrage by his own party more a ploy to impress Hispanic voters, than a genuine act of concern?
We’ve witnessed examples of ignoring words offensive to a specific group before. Romney, during last year’s election, refused to remove his support from Rep. Todd Akin when he said: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
If more politicians would “speak their mind” instead of covering their true thoughts with clever rhetoric, we most likely would have fewer “career politicians”. That would be a very good thing.
Columnist-The Guardian Express