This past Thursday on NPR, there was a story titled “The Tea Party: A Modern Movement.” I was hoping to hear something worthwhile and was not disappointed. The problem is that it didn’t make me see the Tea Party in a better light. The first caller really summed up the whole movement and left little to the imagination of what the Tea Party is all about. I thought a few parts were telling.
CONAN: What is the mischaracterization that you hear about Tea Partiers on media or from other people that bothers you the most?
MAGGIE: That bothers me the most? Well, that's hard because we're called rednecks. We're called uneducated. We're called stupid. We're called racist. And it's probably the racist label that really, really bothers me the most, because it is simply not true.
You can disagree with the president because of his policy, and his race or his religion play absolutely no part in your disagreement. And it seems, starting last summer, if - to disagree with President Obama was to not want a person of color as president.
As soon as this question was asked, I knew what the answer was going to be. The Tea Parties are quick to dismiss charges of racism as offensive. But what proof do they give to the contrary? I think the point that the caller Maggie said “his race or his religion play absolutely no part in [our] disagreement”, which is demonstrably false and a backhanded comment, showed the exact position of the Tea Party.
The host asked nothing about religion, but she still felt the need to stick the issue in there anyway. This goes to show you that these people still think he is a Muslim. He has professed to be a Christian and I see no reason to question him on that. It is a little disturbing to me that he goes to such a great length to show that he is a superstitious as most of the country. I, personally, expect more out of the leader of a country, especially in a time in which religion is becoming more extreme. I would rather have a president who is smart and doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator.
No one has said that if you disagree with the president then you are a racist, contrary to what you may hear on Fox News, who seems to be the largest purveyor of this myth. I disagree with the president’s policies almost every day. Does that make me a racist? Not at all. What does make you a racist is when you challenge the legitimacy of the president because you think he was born in Kenya, or when you have pictures of the president in some kind of tribal garb. When you use code words or just come out and say (ala Rush Limbaugh) that the president is going to give reparations to black people, trying to work the honky crowd into a lather.
CONAN: There are, there have been at least some signs at some Tea Party rallies that some people say, wait a minute, that's over the line.
MAGGIE: Well, I've seen that, I've seen that - you saw it with Bush. I mean there were movies - there was at least one movie about, you know, fantasizing about Bush being assassinated. There were numerous anti-war rallies where both Bush and Cheney and other members of the administration were demonized, literally and figuratively. But there wasn't this (technical difficulties) that's so over the top, we can't allow that. You know, that's dangerous talk, but when it comes from the conservative side of the political spectrum, then it becomes (technical difficulties) then we can't allow it. And I think it's a complete - I think it's complete hypocrisy.
Of course! Remember back in 04’ when we started the “Kill Bush” party? I don’t remember that either. The movie that she is speaking of, “Death Of A President” was made by a British filmmaker, not a Democratic Party TV host. The film was also roundly criticized by both sides of the political spectrum in the US, with Hillary Clinton calling it “despicable”. How much of an outcry has there been from the right when Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, and Limbaugh routinely call the president a communist, socialist, fascist, racist, and a Nazi? I am still waiting.
I love how Maggie compares the anti-war rallies to the Tea Party movement. To think that these two groups share anything in common would require mental gymnastics that would break part of your brain. The anti-war rallies were speaking out against the US sending our troops into a country for no reason at all. Good people died in Iraq and Afghanistan that should have never been near a warzone. We were sent into a war with no plan, no armor, and no reason. That is why there were anti-war rallies. The administration was demonized with good reason. The Tea Party, on the other hand, is speaking out against issues and problems that don’t exist. The difference between the two groups is that one was protesting against a war and the other is protesting against a lie. The anti-war protestors weren’t bringing guns to rallies and talking about seceding from the union.
If the Tea Party really cared about the country and the “out of control spending”, then why aren’t they protesting on Wall Street? If they think that the stimulus was a bad idea, go protest the people that took the money and paid themselves with taxpayer funds. This is where the base problem with the Tea Party comes to light. The Tea Party is a group of people who are being manipulated by the Republican Party to work in the interests of the corporations that they shill for. They look like a bunch of fools when they stage protests against the Inheritance Tax when there is no way in hell that 95% of them will ever fall under that portion of the tax code.
Just another day in the Republican Party, getting the poor to do your bidding.