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by Carl Hiaasen
Lonesome Racist of the Week: Robert Copeland of Wolfeboro, N.H.
He's not as wealthy or prominent as
Until last week he served as one of three elected police commissioners in Wolfeboro, a town of about 6,300 people in central New Hampshire. A resident had complained to the town manager that, while dining at a local restaurant, she overheard Copeland use the N-word to describe President Obama.
Copeland didn't deny making the slur, and brilliantly sent the following email to the other commissioners: "I believe I did use the 'N' word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse (sic). For this I do not apologize -- he meets and exceeds my criteria for such."
Many people in Wolfeboro felt Copeland met and exceeded the criteria for being a bigoted gasbag, and a public meeting was convened. The crowd was virtually all white because fewer than two dozen African-Americans live in the town.
Copeland sat there listening to all the outraged demands for his resignation, and never said a word.
Wolfeboro was in turmoil. It wasn't as if Copeland could be ignored or led away like some demented old uncle. The police commission is in charge of hiring, firing and disciplining officers, and also setting their salaries. Copeland also worked as a dispatch supervisor.
The governor of New Hampshire and several state lawmakers condemned Copeland's remarks about Obama and said he should resign immediately. So did Mitt Romney, who owns a house in the state.
After a few days Copeland gave up and quit. He's now free to shamble around the house in his bathrobe and boxers, spewing the N-word as much as he wants.
He has little in common with Sterling besides hateful prejudice and advanced age (the
They point to Cliven Bundy, 67, the deadbeat Nevada rancher who for two decades hasn't paid grazing fees for the cattle he lets roam upon federal lands. When officers showed up last month to remove the livestock, they were met by a defiant Bundy and a band of armed supporters.
Bundy has claimed native rights to the lands, saying he doesn't recognize the existence of the U.S. government. For "standing up" to the feds (and stiffing American taxpayers for more than
If at that point he'd shut his mouth, Bundy would still be a media darling of the bug-eyed right. But while chatting with a
He mused that black people might be "better off as slaves" rather than living "under government subsidy."
Whoops. Here we go again.
Instantly Bundy became politically toxic. His cheering section at Fox fell silent, while Sen. Paul, who has presidential ambitions, declared he didn't agree with Bundy's view on slavery and even unholstered the O-word ("offensive").
Like Sterling, Bundy's attempts to clarify his feelings about black Americans only made things worse.
"Are they slaves to charities and government subsidized homes?" he said two days later. "And are they slaves when their daughters are having abortions and their sons are in prisons? This thought goes back a long time."
On CNN Bundy labored to stem the backlash with an incoherent reference to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, while on his
That's comforting to know, but at this point Bundy's trespassing cows are his biggest audience.
He, Copeland and Sterling have blabbed themselves into caricatures. It's not that they're harmless (Sterling's discriminatory practices as a landlord were punitive to many black families), but all the repudiation and ridicule has reduced them to their proper size.
They are just small men with small ugly thoughts, and every so often it's useful to be reminded that they're still out there.
Lots of 'em.
Angry residents in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, called for a police commissioner to resign after he admitted using a racial slur to describe the president
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Article: Copyright ©, Tribune Content Agency
"Small Men with Ugly Thoughts, Expressed Aloud "