August 24, 2012

Republican official prefers Custer to Indians

RNC Official Says NM Governor Disrespected Custer by Meeting American Indians

By Rob CapricciosoPat Rogers, a Republican National Committee (RNC) leader, is facing calls for his dismissal after telling the staff of Gov. Susana Martinez, R-N.M., that because she agreed to meet with American Indians, she disrespected the memory of Col. George Armstrong Custer.Daily Kos has the best explanation of Rogers's offensive e-mail:

Does "Custer" e-mail portend GOP's "Last Stand?"

By Deep HarmDated June 9, the email from "Patrick J. Rogers," was addressed to "senior members of the governor’s administration" and was obtained by Independent Source PAC.Subject: FW: New Mexico Governor meets with American Indian Leaders in tribal-state summit
Category: Red Category
Quislings, French surrender monkeys, secret supporters (all along) of JAJ [Janice Arnold Jones]

The state is going to hell. Col. Weh would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner.

I hope who ever recommended this is required to read the entire redist [redistricting law suit] transcript and sit through the entire meeting with the Gov.
The email includes a link to an Associated Press article about the June 8 summit held in Mescalero, NM. The meeting was a requirement of the State Tribal Collaboration Act.The State Tribal Collaboration Act provides the framework for the state and tribes to work together to develop successful solutions to the many challenges that face New Mexico's Native American citizens. In addition it also mandates a yearly Summit. The Act requires cabinet-level agencies to develop policies that promote beneficial collaboration between the state and tribal governments; designate agency tribal liaisons; provide for culturally appropriate training to state agency employees who work with tribes; and, provide annual reporting that accounts for each agency's accomplishments pursuant to the Act.The email's reference to "quislings" (synonymous with "traitor') suggests that meeting with Native American leaders--even when required by law--is a betrayal. However, it may also have been a reference to Governor Martinez's public statements opposing party positions on immigration and cuts to Social Security disability payments. Martinez was the first Latina to be elected Governor of a state.
Reactions to Rogers's e-mail

Capriccioso continues with some reactions to the e-mail:“George Armstrong Custer may be regarded as a kind of military hero by Pat Rogers, but to the Native peoples of America Custer represents the bellicose imperialism that was responsible for the systematic slaughter of American Indians throughout this continent,” according to an e-mail being circulated by ProgressNow.

“Such a blatantly racist statement against our Native people is offensive from anyone, but to come from a national GOP leader and lobbyist for some of our country’s largest corporations is indefensible,” said Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, in a statement.

“These e-mails show the contempt and disrespect New Mexico’s Republican leadership has for our Native people. Unless they drop Pat Rogers immediately, we can rightly assume that those organizations he speaks for, including the RNC, Modrall Sperling and his lobbying clients, feel the same way.”

“Well, there’s an entirely different angle to this,” added Chris Stearns, a Navajo lawyer and chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. “I think you could argue that when Gov. Martinez met with Pat Rogers, she disrespected the memory of intelligent people everywhere.”
Custer-Friendly Official Has Backing of Republican National Committee

By Rob CapricciosoRogers’ words have since made nationwide headlines, and he has drawn few defenders, although the RNC has ignored calls for his dismissal.

“We disagree with Committeeman Rogers’ comments, and he has rightfully apologized for them,” Ted Kwong, a spokesman for the RNC, told ICTMN over the weekend. “We are a big tent party that is focused on speaking to all Americans who want a different direction after nearly four years of deficit spending and failed leadership. We will continue to talk about how to create jobs for the 23 million Americans who are looking for work, despite the desperate efforts by Democrats to make this election about anything but their dismal economic record.”

Rogers’ apology came in an August 25 Albuquerque Journal article, in which he said he was attempting to be funny: “I made a poor attempt at humor in a private e-mail, and it’s being twisted by a partisan group,” he told the newspaper. “I certainly intended no offense, but I do apologize.”

Many American Indians have not taken Rogers’ words as a joke, and the RNC has not heeded calls for a reprimand. Officials there also did not acknowledge that he has not apologized directly to American Indians.

“He has apologized, no other changes to announce,” Kwong said when pressed on whether Rogers will continue to serve with the RNC. Kwong would not say if Rogers was available for an interview. Rogers has not responded to several requests from ICTMN.

The apology and the RNC’s reaction have fallen flat in many circles of Indian country.

“Only the geniuses at the Republican National Committee could figure out a way to send out an apology about Native Americans without mentioning Native Americans,” said Chris Stearns, a Navajo lawyer and chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission.

“It is appalling that one of the leading organizers of the RNC is spewing such garbage,” said Rhonda LeValdo-Gayton, president of the Native American Journalists Association. “I wonder if he even knows that Custer didn’t deal with the tribes in New Mexico?”
Calls come for Pat Rogers' resignation after controversial comments"How you manage in three sentences to offend the Republican Party, Native American people and countless New Mexicans all at once, I don't know," said Par Davis of Progress New Mexico.

Now, the All-Indian Pueblo Council is calling for Rogers to be removed from his position saying, "The military aggression carried out in the late 1800's under the command of General Custer resulted in the slaughter and killing of scores of Native American men, women and children. I can only wonder, what was Mr. Rogers thinking?"
Why Rogers hates Indians

I can't imagine where the humor is in Rogers's e-mail. I'd love to hear him explain the "joke" to everyone.

The only obvious thing is Rogers's angry tone. He isn't joshing about Indians, he's seething about them.

As we might've guessed, Rogers isn't some neutral official who has no dealings with Indians. As a columnist explains, Rogers actively opposes them. Which explains why his e-mail is scornful.

Racial Bigotry Comes Out of the Closet in New Mexico

By Harold MonteauPatrick Rogers attempted to explain away the e-mail as an attempt at humor by his use of what can be viewed, at the least, as an ethnically insensitive remark, or, at the worst, a demonstration of racially bigoted disdain for the Native American segment of New Mexico’s rather diverse populace. His excuse of poor judgment in his expression of “humor” was defended by the State Republican Committee Chairman and several other persons in the Republican hierarchy.

The Modrall Sperling Firm often represent clients that are on the opposite side of Tribal interests, in business related matters and litigation in which the firm represents companies that argue against Tribal regulatory, taxation, employment and environmental authority, especially regarding commercial activities on or near the reservations. They represent the Oklahoma Tax Commission that litigates against Tribes at the drop of a cigarette butt or drop of gas. The firm has about 80 attorneys according to their website. The partners and lawyers in the firm are primarily Anglo males, with about half a dozen attorneys with Hispanic surnames and no attorneys with biographical info indicating Native American heritage.

The one Native American in the firm left last spring to become a District Judge, having been appointed to the vacancy by the Republican Governor, Susana Martinez. The judge quickly came to the defense of Patrick Rogers in a public statement indicating that he did not believe Mr. Rogers was racially prejudiced. (Until now, I guess.)

Predictably, Tribal leaders were incensed and the All Indian Pueblo Council (AIPC) Chairman Chandler Sanchez, in a statement published in the Albuquerque Journal, condemned the use of the “racist in tone” remarks. They demanded that Rogers step down from his seat as a National Republican Committee member.
Comment:  Another conservative, another racist. Sigh.

This incident pulls back the curtain on racism against Indians. In a "private" e-mail, Rogers implied that Indians didn't deserve anything. Custer, who tried to kill them, was more deserving of recognition than they were. There's a hint that the world would be better off if Custer had succeeded.

Rogers tried to pass this off as a "joke," which is what almost every racist does. That, of course, is ridiculous. For starters, there isn't a smidgen of humor in his e-mail.

More to the point, it's an unfiltered look at what this Republican thinks. In private, you're more likely to "joke" about what you really think. I'd say at least part of him wishes Custer had killed the Indians.

Window into racist mindset

In public, Rogers works for what sounds like a rabidly anti-Indian law firm. And here's the final connection. Rogers shows us how private bigotry translates to public policy.

Rogers and people like him don't oppose tribal sovereignty or gaming because of high-minded principles. They oppose these things because they're racists. They have an atavistic feeling that Indians don't belong in the modern world. That the "savages," their reservations, and their casinos should vanish like they were supposed to in the 19th century.

Most politicians are smart enough not to post their bigoted opinions on some anti-Indian or white-supremacist site. "Private" e-mails that people forward to friends are about as clear a window as you'll get into their mindsets. And Rogers's mindset is dripping with prejudice. There's no other explanation for his "joke."

For more on conservative racism, see Sikh Shootings Reflect White Supremacy and Racists Hate and Fear Minority Babies.


Anonymous said...

This is but one fine example of the populist scorn many elected officials feel and legislate about native peoples. We love to demonize and criticize the politicians and anyone with authority after we elect them and we can spot the ignorance that exists in media talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and GLenn Beck, but until voters and citizens take to the streets with the vigor and nerve whites do with the Tea Party Movement, nothing ever gets done. Instead, we voice our disgusts and shock after the fact that these racist are elected and hold positions in public office and then its too late. I feel the problems are a grass roots problem. I have heard that some public school teachers are teaching that Europeans arrived before indigenous cultures with the chant and encouragement of a new generation of racist being bred in the classrooms across America. My answer is which Europeans built Mesa Verde, the Italians or Germans? Its our own fault for not voting or being politically active that allows this kind of stupidity and ignorance to exist and harbor past the new millenea.

Anonymous said...

What was Custer's last speech like? "They say fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Well, as God as my witness, I am that fool." Sounds about right.

More relevant, New Mexico's Indians fought Custer how? That's...several hundred miles difference, IIRC.

Anonymous said...

Why do many Americans uplift someone who lost all his men in a dusty dismal defeat? In this country there is only first place and no room or honor for second place or last. Someone might counter with, "Yeah but he was successful and a hero during the Civil War." And I would reply, "So he is a hero for leading the charge to kill "Johnny Rebel" aka, "White Southerners?" (Never mind the fact that some folks in the South never really got over this fact, losing the war. Hmm might have to ask someone from the South what they think of Custer). But then when we look at his Civil War record we forget that this record eventually ended in a dusty, dismal, defeat. Perhaps that is what keeps him uplifted by some Americans, they refuse to accept that their "war hero" was defeated by one of the greatest "light calvary" in world history, Lakota and Northern Cheyenne Warriors. It is time to begin the dethronement of Custer and place him in somewhere in the forgotten pages of history listing him under loser.