Feathered Bastard

Trent Franks: Blacks Better Off Under Slavery. No, Really.

Trent gives the bloggers something to harp on, around 6:12 in...

Republican Congressman Trent "Foot-in-Mouth" Franks is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The goofy, amiable wingnut from Arizona's Second Congressional District is known for his hard-right stance on just about everything from abortion to President Obama's birth certificate, which he desperately wanted to see at one point.

To say he's outdone himself with his latest racially-charged statements, captured in the YouTube clip above, starting around 6:12 in, would be ignorant of Franks' history of saying stupid stuff. Granted, though, this one is a dozy. And I'm sure the 2.2 percent of African-Americans in his district will not be too happy to find out that Franks figured they had it better off in the antebellum South.

"I don't know what it takes to get people to see the obvious," he tells his interlocutor. "It seems like that humanity is very gifted at hiding from something that's obviously true. I mean, in this country we had slavery for god knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say, `How blind were they? What was the matter with them?'

"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."

Actually, in context, I think I know what he was trying to say, but Franks will have hell to pay, at least from liberal bloggers for it. For good reason. Slavery was no walk in the park. The whippings, chains, the dying in transit in slave ships. Didn't this guy ever see Roots? Sheesh?

And yet, the discussion was originally about talk radio, which led to how people express themselves and make a point, which led to this unfortunate comparison, because abortion is Trent's number one issue. Still, I can't hate on the guy too  much. He gives me too much material.

I can already hear all the fake outrage, flowing through the InterWeb like a mighty river. Gimme a break. The congressman's practically keeping you oafs employed. Moreover, Franks even offered a preemptive apology, moments later in the same video:

"So sometimes we're a little bit emphatic. And sometimes we get angry and say things we shouldn't say. And I apologize, right here in front of everybody for saying things, especially if they're not true."

Considering his record for wacky statements, Franks should walk around with a sign that says "I'm sorry" round his neck. Would save us all a bunch of time.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons