Lubbock Councilman Victor Hernandez Cries Racism against Republicans
A Lubbock elected official alleges that a political party is engaging in racism and theft in the aftermath of political signs being allegedly vandalized and stolen.
District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez said in a press release to local media on Monday afternoon that Republicans in Lubbock are engaging in “patterns of hate” for the destruction and vandalism of signs for President Barack Obama off University Avenue in Lubbock.
Hernandez writes in the press release,
“In the last week or so, I have posted on Facebook two articles dealing with the subject of political parties using racial code words, also known as dog-whistling. What I have listed below are numerous examples of Republicans (local elected officials, local candidates for office and local supporters) using racial code words. (Bold wording from Hernandez)”
Hernandez cites examples from Republican County Judge Tom Head for two incidents involving comments about the U.N. Troops invading Lubbock and a 2009 incident.
You can read the entire press release from Councilman Hernandez below.
RACIAL CODE WORDS (DOG-WHISTLE POLITICS) IN LUBBOCK,
A PATTERN OF HATRED?
“THUGS!” “N*GGER”! “He’s going to send in U.N. troops!”
“Abortionist!” BULLET HOLES?
“Hand over the sovereignty of the United States!”
“GANGS!” “Hate Crime!”
“YOU CAN’T BE A CATHOLIC AND A DEMOCRAT!”
“VICE FOR AN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM RECIPIENT”
I started this piece two weeks ago. Normally, I go through multiple drafts before I release anything publicly. However, as a result of this past Sunday’s events, the direction of this piece has shifted from questioning whether the tone and tenor of local politics has eroded to the point of rude behavior to, and instead, questioning whether the tone and tenor of local politics has eroded (or surfaced) to the point of people being fearful for their lives and property.
Today’s edition of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal has an article entitled, Vandalizing of political signs crossing a hateful line, by Ariel Kirkland, (LAJ, 10-21-12) which is of interest and which I have posted a link to on my Facebook page.
The AJ article referenced above, was based upon a news conference and prepared statement read by Kenny Ketner, Lubbock County Democratic Party Chair. In that prepared statement Ketner states, “I am calling this press conference because sign vandalism and theft is out of control, and has now crossed the unfortunate line into hate crime…
“Also, we have had over half a dozen of our large 4×4 and 4×8 signs stolen, vandalized, or shot. And as of about 1 a.m. this morning [Sunday], we can add hate crime to the list, as two of our 4×4 signs at 26th and University Avenue were vandalized with the n-word written multiple times and mustard sprayed all over the signs…
“This is not the 1950’s. This is Lubbock 2012, and this kind of racist garbage unfortunately still happens…”
The statement also contains, what I consider another valid point that is, “And please don’t misunderstand me: I don’t mean that every Republican is racist…”
Standing alone, these incidents are grave enough to warrant scrutiny. The unfortunate truth is, the destructive incidents concerning the political signage of Obama/Sedeno/Garcia and other political campaigns is but one example in what could be perceived as a pattern of hate.
According to Merriam-Webster a pattern is “a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution.’ In this case, one could make the argument that the “group” includes elected office holders, candidates for office, and supporters, all with ties to the local Republican Party, (Tea Party).
In the last week or so, I have posted on Facebook two articles dealing with the subject of political parties using racial code words, also known as dog-whistling. What I have listed below are numerous examples of Republicans (local elected officials, local candidates for office and local supporters) using racial code words.
“Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The phrase is only ever used as a pejorative, because of the inherently deceptive nature of the practice and because the dog-whistle messages are frequently themselves distasteful, for example by empathizing with racist attitudes. It is an analogy to dog whistles, which are built in such a way that their high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs, but is inaudible to humans.” Wikipedia
Two Examples from Lubbock County Judge Tom Head, Republican:
1. August 2012 – Insinuation that President Obama is Un-American or not American at all.
“He’s [President Obama] going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?” Head asked. “I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”
Head continued, delving deeper into his hypothesis and claiming that he was prepared to join the hypothetical resistance.
“Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here,’” the judge said. “And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him, I said, ‘You gonna back me?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll back you.’ Well, I don’t want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me.” County judge Head concerned with civil unrest if Obama re-elected, (http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2012-08-22/county-judge-head-concerned-civil)
2. August 2009 – Insinuation that African –Americans are drug users, criminals and wife beaters and that President Obama is less than qualified.
“County commissioners removed this poster [see description below] that begins with a short narration of a person contemplating waking up, putting on an Obama T-shirt and then abusing drugs, robbing a store and hitting his wife. A sheet of mug shots of mostly black men wearing Obama shirts is tacked beneath. A printout suggesting no mug shots would show a criminal wearing a shirt supporting a Republican president hangs beneath the pictures…
Other posters critical of the Obama administration, including a political cartoon of the president playing Pied Piper to national media outlets and a fictional discussion of former Republican presidents calling Obama ‘no Abraham Lincoln’ hung nearby…” Lubbock County removes judge’s racially charged posters (tinyurl.com/96kprd5)
Two Examples from Lubbock County Republican Party Chair Carl Tepper:
1. September 2012 – Insinuation that Hispanics are criminals.
Democratic County Commissioners’ Court candidate Lorenzo “Bubba” Sedeno participated in a political forum, hosted by Guadalupe Neighborhood Association, against Republican (Tea Party activist) Ysidro Gutiérrez. (County commissioners forum ends early as candidates trade barbs, by Adam D. Young, September 25, 2012) Within hours Republican Party Chair for Lubbock County was on local radio talk shows calling those in attendance thugs and gang members.
2. September 2012 – Insinuation that Hispanics are lazy, wanting government hand-outs and all are on government subsidies.
“The chair person of the Republican Party [Carl Tepper] shouted out to the Democratic Tejanos, ‘If you want food stamps, welfare check, get it over there, and he pointed right at us,’ she [President of Tejano Democrats Olga Aguero] said.
‘Go get your welfare check over there,’ Cardona [Tejano Democrats member] said [referring to another remark made by Tepper]. Partisan Exchange causes dustup at fiestas parade, reported by Henry Ramos at fox34.com, 09-20-2012
An Example from Lubbock County Republican Party Nominee for County Commissioner, Precinct 3, Ysidro Gutierrez:
1. September 2012 – Insinuation that Hispanics are criminals.
Democratic County Commissioners’ Court candidate Lorenzo “Bubba” Sedeno participated in a political forum, hosted by Guadalupe Neighborhood Association, against Republican (Tea Party activist) Ysidro Gutiérrez. (County commissioners forum ends early as candidates trade barbs, by Adam D. Young, September 25, 2012) Within hours Republican (Tea Party activist) Ysidro Gutierrez was also on local radio talk shows calling those in attendance thugs.
An Example from Republican (Tea Party), Texas House of Representatives Charles Perry:
1. October 2012 – Insinuation that poor people are gamblers, addicted to gambling, lazy and on welfare.
On October 22, 2012, on News Talk KFYO 790 AM, Republican (Tea Party) State Representative Charles Perry discusses a potential gambling referendum to be had in Texas with former Texas State Senator and former TTU Chancellor John T. Montford. In that interview Perry states, “A 66 to 80 percent estimate of wage earners [who come to the casinos] are of a lower social economic category that we typically are already either funding Medicaid, or either funding CHIPS, or either funding Lone Star, of either funding subsidized school lunches…I don’t want to have to fund another entitlement program, or another vice for an entitlement program recipient that we are already funding at multiple levels.
There is no doubt but that the current election cycle has gotten to be contentious, both at the national and the local level. However, the prevalent use of racial code words by local Republican elected officials and candidates, the destruction of property and now, the use of racial slurs and especially the use of guns* to produce holes in political signage has generated apprehension and fear.
If there exists a pattern of hatred in Lubbock County, Texas, it would behoove the political and non-political leadership of this city and county to publicly condemn such behavior, seek out the perpetrators and, demand that justice prevail. To do less, to turn a blind eye, rises to the level of being an accomplice to such actions.*
* Paint ball guns?
**“And please don’t misunderstand me: I don’t mean that every Republican is racist…” Kenny Ketner, Lubbock County Republican Party Chair