One of the results of the GOP ‘wave’ during the recent midterm elections was that a number of state legislatures flipped over to Republican majorities. Nevada is one such state where this occurred. Republicans gained 10 seats on Election Day, therefore taking control of the state’s Assembly. Instead of choosing current Minority Leader Pat Hickey to be Speaker, the caucus instead voted for Assemblyman Ira Hansen. Hickey was also bypassed as Majority Leader. Nevada Republicans claimed that Hickey wasn’t conservative enough. This is the first time since 1929 that Nevada’s governor and two chambers have been Republican.
Well, they need not worry about Hansen’s right-wing bona fides. After the Republican caucus announced Hansen as the incoming Speaker, a weekly alternative magazine, the Reno News & Review, decided to comb through Hansen’s writing history. For over 13 years, Hansen wrote a column for his local newspaper, the Sparks Tribune. The News & Review combed through each one of his articles and found some shockingly racist, sexist, homophobic and just plain offensive statements. Most of the articles are not online, so writers and researchers had to rely on microfiche.
Regarding the topic of race in America, Hansen wrote a number of inflammatory columns. He pointed out that when he wrote his columns, he made sure there was a Confederate flag hanging in the room. His reason: “I fly it proudly in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause.” Hansen also spent a lot of time regurgitating unproven rumors about the personal life of Martin Luther King, Jr., obviously as a way to discredit his accomplishments and teachings. At one point, Hansen wrote, “King’s private life was trashy at best. … King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud.”
However, the worst may have been in an article where Hansen was discussing public education and teachers unions. He claimed that the NAACP and Democrats were using education as a way to enslave blacks. He then referred to the Democratic Party as “the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies.”
“The Democratic coalition would split asunder if the NAACP & co. actually promoted what black Americans truly desire—educational choice. The shrewd and calculating [black] ‘leaders’ are willing to sacrifice the children of their own race to gratify their lust for power and position. The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies. For American blacks, being denied choice and forced to attend the failing and inferior government school system is a form of involuntary servitude. Let’s call it what it truly is—educational slavery.”
He also wrote that blacks are not grateful enough to white people for ending slavery.
“The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.”
Of course, Hansen didn’t limit his bigotry to blacks during his column’s history. Hispanics and Latinos were targeted quite a bit as Hansen constantly complained about gang violence and laid the blame on the Latino community. He also claimed, without any evidence, that an increase in Hispanics at a high school was causing more tuberculosis cases in the area. As far as women, Hansen blamed the “women’s liberation movement” on society’s ills.
“So what happened between 1960 and 2001? Major social changes that negatively affected the family. Childbearing was reduced to an average of two kids. … Divorce rates skyrocketed. ‘Child care’ became an industry. Child abuse skyrocketed. Thanks to the ‘sexual revolution’ and the ‘women’s liberation movement,’ women chose to act as foolishly as men, and illegitimacy also went through the roof. … Abortions get about one out of every four children conceived.”
And the hits go on and on. The News & Review pointed out that the Sparks Tribune’s Andrew Barbano will feature much of Hansen’s writing in his column during the upcoming legislative session. Barbano says he’s always believed that Hansen is “an overt bigot, racist and homophobe.”
Alas, this is what the GOP ‘wave’ brought us — more of the crazy, especially at the state and local level.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).