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
I owned up that sometimes there are government regulations
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
"There," she said, "that's it! You are soooo far right!"
Another friend called me a "redneck radical" (perhaps because
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
"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
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
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
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
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
leftist friend was right. I am leaning away from the asses.
* * *
C.J. Hadley is Publisher and Editor for RANGE magazine.