If you've followed the saga of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy at all, you've undoubtedly heard his horrible suggestion that black people may have been better off as slaves.
While Bundy's being blasted by most this week, his comments are remarkably close to comments made several years ago by Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks.
-Arizona Lawmaker, a Cliven Bundy Supporter, Blasted for Racial Comments
-Trent Franks: Blacks Better Off Under Slavery. No, Really
"They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton," Bundy said in part of his diatribe, captured by the New York Times. "And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."
Compare that to Franks' comments on abortion back in 2010:
"I can't believe . . . I mean, four million slaves, this is incredible. And we're right . . . We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America's soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted . . . Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today, than were being devastated by the policies of slavery."
Franks' comments were a little less horrible because he didn't drop references to "the Negro" or "picking cotton," but it's nearly the same general comment -- two people are honest-to-God conflicted over whether black people had it tougher as slaves, or now, as, you know, free Americans.
Head to the 6:12 mark.
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To Franks' credit, at least he wasn't actively supporting Bundy's cause, unlike Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, who was up at Bundy's ranch, giving speeches about the horrible federal government. We can't find any evidence in public remarks or social media of Franks being supportive of Bundy.
Interestingly, however, this thought that treating an individual as property might be better than being treated as an equal isn't unique to Bundy or Franks. One writer pointed out that some conservative politicians including Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed some sort of "marriage vow" circulated by a Religious Right organization that said slavery had a "disastrous impact on African-American families," but proceeded to explain that it was kind of worse under President Obama.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.