JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska Rep. Don Young issued an apology Friday for using the term “wetbacks” when discussing migrant works, acknowledging it is an “insensitive term” that he says should have been left behind with the last century. “I’m sorry, I forgot that the Republican National Committee has told us to keep our racism under wraps,” Young said. “I will do my best to use more appropriate language in the future.
“So, just what do call spics these days, anyway?”
The apology came after House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican Party leaders denounced Young on Friday for using the term. “Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” Boehner said in a brief statement. “Well, they were offensive, but maybe not beneath the dignity of his office. After all, he’s a U.S. congressman, so the bar’s not set that high.
“But we’re having a hard enough time winning elections because Republican policies discriminate against Hispanics. Now when Republicans start saying ‘wetbacks’ during interviews, we haven’t got a chance. I guess we have to go back to rigging elections. We could hire some beaners to burn down polling places in Latino neighborhoods. It’s a lot easier than changing our bigoted policies.”
The trouble stemmed from an interview with radio station KRBD in Ketchikan, Alaska, in which Young said that on his father’s ranch they “used to have 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It (only) takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.
“That reminds me of a joke my dad used to tell: What do you get when you cross a Mexican with an octopus? I don’t know, but it sure can pick a lot of lettuce. Ha! My dad was one funny rich white man.”
While Young may have come under fire in the past week for his offensive remarks, he has long been criticized for his legislative record. As resources committee chairman in the late 1990s, Young took on environmentalists by pushing for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and logging in Alaska national forests. Under Young’s chairmanship, the infamous “bridges to nowhere” projects became a symbol for questionable special projects inserted into spending bills. He is also currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which is looking into whether he failed to report gifts on his annual disclosure forms, misused campaign funds and lied to federal officials.
“I’ve been under a cloud all my life,” he told reporters in Juneau Thursday. “It’s sort of like living in Juneau. It rains on you all the time. That is one sloshing turd-bucket of a city.
“Wait, we’re in Juneau now? Oh shit. Well, Juneau’s not that bad really. I mean, at least there aren’t any wetbacks here—am I right? Who’s with me!”