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Photo of C.J. Hadley -- Copyright ©Jeff Ross
CJ Photo ©Jeff Ross


Me? Far right?
A redneck radical?

© 1998 By C.J. Hadley


As soon as I got my U.S. citizenship and could toss away my green card I registered to vote as a democrat in New York City. I liked the party. I thought it was the party of compassion.
    I voted for democrat Jimmy Carter (I like that peanut grower) and I have autographed photos of Walter Mondale (a democrat), Willie Nelson (a wild and entertaining independent) and former President George Bush (a republican).
    I am delighted to admit that the current hotshot from Arkansas did not get my vote. Al Gore never will. And I admit that I don't follow a party line, I vote for a point of view.
    Which brings me to the point, maybe.
    An old friend, a staunch supporter of the party whose emblem is an ass, called me "far right" a few weeks back. But not straight away. We were at a meeting in Reno and she asked how I was doing. She's a genius at public relations and I told her I could use help with RANGE. She took a few issues home, analyzed them, and within days called with her comments. "Boy, are you far right!" she said. But I didn't get it. "You hate the government!" she exclaimed.
    I owned up that sometimes there are government regulations that I
seriously disagree with...that I believe some leaders in D.C. are taking on things that are none of their business...that private property rights are being ignored in the name of critters, plants and insects that few people give a damn about...that misinformation and downright lies in the media are making it impossible for good, simple hardworking rural people to produce food and enjoy their lives.
    "There," she said, "that's it! You are soooo far right!"
    Another friend called me a "redneck radical" (perhaps because I
speak loudly for people who are not saying much, many of them wearing ear flaps or cowboy hats). This California accountant thinks there's nothing but truth in national newspapers, on network news, and on Ted Turner's TBS (not easy to believe if you saw Turner's slanted "documentary" about western cattlemen, "The New Range Wars").
    "What's in it for them," she asked, "not to speak the truth?"
Perhaps money? Power? Greed?
    I'm small time compared to Ted Turner but the producer for
Agri-Talk out of Kansas City asked me to be on a radio show a while back. The interviewer Ken Root and I chatted for almost an hour. One call-in self-proclaimed environmentalist on a cell phone from Chicago accused me of bias. "Maybe guilty," I admitted, "I am an advocate for people who live and work on the land, for ranchers and farmers. If that's biased, I'm proud of it."
    We got almost 300 phone calls at RANGE from all across the country after that show. The vast majority seemed to find the mission of RANGE a relief. One Texan said, "I like that radical, Hadley. Send me a subscription."
    But there are worse things happening than good folks calling me
names. New Mexico's republican Governor Gary E. Johnson recently endorsed a publication produced by Darren White, his Secretary of the Department of Public Safety. Called "The Extremist Right: An Overview" and issued June 8, 1998, it was sent to about 300 law enforcement agencies throughout New Mexico. Within its pages were descriptions of white supremacists including the Aryan Brotherhood, White Aryan Resistance, American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. These are all hate groups with one thing in common-the use of
    Unfortunately, this publication also listed the Wise-Use Movement,
calling it "a coalition of ranchers, loggers, miners and others who want federal environmental regulations repealed and who want more control of public lands given to local authorities."
    White blessed all the copy in the publication, which allegedly only
described groups "that advocate unlawful, illegal, militant, and/or
dangerous methods to achieve their ends...." His report claims "Wise-Use groups, anti-environmentalists and land grant activists...may prove to be the most volatile and pose the greatest threat to law enforcement."
    Thanks to an outcry by the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau (a Wise-Use member), New Mexico Cattle Growers and others, White added two new lines to the report: "The majority of groups that identify themselves with the Wise-Use Movement, pose no threat or danger...."
    The Wise-Use Movement has no history of violence. Started to defend the West's resource users against an overwhelming assault from environmental activists and real radicals who were posing a threat to their livelihoods, they were reacting for people who couldn't afford to defend themselves against some mighty big dollars.
    There's something terribly wrong here and because of it I think my
leftist friend was right. I am leaning away from the asses.

*    *    *

   C.J. Hadley is Publisher and Editor for RANGE magazine.



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