“How brain-dead do you have to be? How strangled by denial, how dishonest, how cheap do you have to be to focus on a clear-cut case where all the evidence, from the DOJ, from the FBI, from the army of investigative specialists in Florida determined that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense against a life-threatening attack by hoodlum, dope-smoking Trayvon Martin,” he continued. Nugent said Wonder has gone from being one of the most soulful men in the world to “soulless.” He also called Wonder’s boycott “brain-dead.” “I will pray for Stevie Wonder and all these other numb-nuts who think that Trayvon Martin is more important than the tens of thousands of slaughtered blacks at the hands of blacks,” he said.Nugent is constitutionally incapable of agreeing to disagree or couching his honest opposition in non-insulting terms. No, like a lot of similar conservatives, Nugent seemingly believes that anyone who disagrees with him is stupid, evil, soulless, and probably racist to boot. While I'm not sure that a man who performs in a Confederate Battle Flag t-shirt has room to call anyone racist or soulless, this is just the latest in a long line of racially charged vitriol from a has been guitarist who is the very picture of intolerance. To the extent that Nugent is the face of the Republican base, and he does seem to be quite popular with certain Republican elected officials, the Republican Party will continue to have low popularity among the coalition that elected President Obama twice. I'm going to write more on this later if I ever get time but people don't vote for people who make it clear that they hate you. We wrote post-election about whether the Republican party could shed its image of racial exclusion or even if it wanted to. As long as Nugent feels comfortable identifying as a Republican, the Republican brand will be racist.
Nugent is entitled to his opinion of course but I thought it might be useful to review each musician's list of notable accomplishments, statements and skill sets.
- Led a movement to recognize MLK's birthday as federal holiday.
- Provided artistic inspiration to freedom fighters in Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa
- Involved in cultural boycott against South Africa.
- Completely reworked pop, funk and soul music in the sixties and mid seventies. Well respected worldwide but especially in music formats that grew out of the African diaspora.
- Has incredible skills in composition, arrangement, singing and performing. Pretty much able to fit in any genre he wants. Several disparate musicians count him as a seminal influence.
- Won over twenty Grammys.
- With very few exceptions, has been on the side of increased tolerance and human rights for all for most of his public life.
- Supported Apartheid in South Africa.
- Does not believe all men are created equal.
- Writes editorials musing that the wrong side won the Civil War.
- Long history of making racially ugly statements, most recently claiming that the black community has a mindless tendency to violence.
- Long history of making sexually ugly statements, ie. calling women whores and "c****s". This is a favorite slur of his. He once called Hillary Clinton a "toxic c***" and "two-bit whore for Fidel Castro."
- Said he wanted the President to suck on his machine gun.
- Well known for having sex with underage groupies, including allegedly a 12 year old Courtney Love.
- Adopted an underage girl so he could have sex with her.
- Musical skills appear limited to a few seventies hits. Seems to be a limited guitarist. Writes songs about sex, killing and more sex.
- By own admission allegedly avoided Vietnam War draft by not washing for days and supposedly defecating and urinating on himself before appearing at draft board.
What is interesting to me is not so much that an old racist white man is indeed an old racist white man. No. What is fascinating about Nugent is that white people who presumably know better, like say Nugent's close friend, author and local radio host Mitch Albom, never ever ever publicly denounce, chastise or distance themselves from Nugent's hateful statements. Nor are they called upon to do so. This is the EXACT opposite of what takes place with any black public figure that makes a comment even a smidgeon as ugly as Nugent regularly does. When President Obama said that a police officer who arrested Professor Gates for the crime of being in his own home acted stupidly, you would have thought he said he wanted to eat white babies raw from the reaction he received from the media and white citizens in general. His polling numbers dropped and he had to set up a rather stupid "beer summit". In what world does the President of the United States need to be concerned about offending a two-bit local police officer? This one, evidently.
It is actually useful to have racist cretins like Nugent spewing forth their hatred. This is indeed the soul of the Republican party. It's who they are. The more people who realize this the more difficult the Republican party will find it to win national elections. White supremacy may still be a winning theme in some local districts but nationally the Republicans will sooner or later get tired of getting their brains beat out for the Presidency. And they will have some tough decisions to make. I'm looking forward to the fun...