A new report called Tea Party Nationalism, backed by the NAACP, links the Tea Party with racists and extremists. Amazing. How pre-post-racial could we possibly be? And when will liberals cease this preposterously lame narrative about right-wing racists?
I say this to liberals as a plea: yes, there are racists in America, but the impulse to find racists everywhere, and particularly among political opponents, horribly abuses the genuine dialogue we should be having about race, and woefully dilutes the very concept of racism in the minds of millions.
As Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips says, “Here we go again.”
The report doesn’t actually conclude that the Tea Party is racist — though it will be used that way. In fact, its opening sentence declares, “we know the majority of Tea Party supporters are sincere, principled people of good will.”
But it then discusses in alarmist terms the efforts of racists and extremists to “infiltrate” the Tea Party movement. The logic is guilt by association, and the charge is to purge.
By that logic, which I have rejected, Barack Obama’s close friendship with William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, never mind Reverend Wright, condemns Obama as an America-hating violent radical leftist. So which will it be? Shall we play the guilt-by-association game, which liberals will lose badly, or stop the madness, and credit both the president and the Tea Party as “people of good will” without reference to their “sinister” associations?
The report notes that the NAACP unanimously passed a resolution “condemning outspoken racist elements within the Tea Party,” and repeated the outright lie “that members of the Congressional Black Caucus reported that racial epithets were hurled at them as they passed by a Washington, D.C., health care protest. Civil rights legend John Lewis was called the ‘n-word’ in the incident.”
This is shameful. Repetition of this lie actually sets back race relations. But the NAACP evidently cares about racial politics, not race relations.
Here’s what happened on March 20th, the day of the vote on Obamacare. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several members of the Congressional Black Caucus did something extraordinary. Rather than using their tunnel, as they routinely do, they chose a long walk through Tea Party protests. Curious, isn’t it? An interest in engagement perhaps? No, not at all, no effort whatever to engage the protesters. Why would they do this? Could it be that they calculated that at least one lone nut would certainly go beyond the pale and give them a lovely sound bite for the evening news?
Did they get their wish? A gush of suspiciously immediate media reports said yes — that “Tea party protesters scream ‘nigger’ at black congressman.” Despite the well-calculated odds that at least one lone nut would go beyond the pale (hence the immediate Republican apologies for even the possibility — a category of apology I’ve never seen from a liberal), in fact, there has yet to be a particle of proof, despite scores of video cameras and the offer of a $100,000 reward for any proof that such slurs occurred, that any protester used the n-word or any other slur. The cynical ploy collapsed.
Yet the ploy persisted, in outrageous accusations by House Democrats like Steve Cohen (D-TN), who said Tea Party protesters lack only the white robes and hoods and compared their protests to Hitler’s Kristallnacht.
Democrats so desperately need examples of conservatives being racist that they are willing to manufacture those examples out of whole cloth and white robes.