The organizers of some major Florida tea party groups, for instance, on Thursday morning released an open letter to Congress and President Barack Obama declaring they “stand in stark opposition to any person using derogatory characterizations, threats of violence, or disparaging terms toward members of Congress or the President.”
The letter calls the tea parties “a peaceful movement” and says its leaders denounce “all forms of violence” and “support all efforts to bring [any perpetrators] to justice and have encouraged full cooperation within our movement and have asked for the same from the members of Congress who have laid such claims.”
The letter is signed by leaders of two statewide tea party coalitions, the state chapter of the Washington-based FreedomWorks and local and regional tea party groups in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Deerfield Beach and Viera, among others.
I recently criticized American lefties for supporting Venezuela dictator Hugo Chavez, which prompted a friend to ask me to name names. In the ensuing conversation I was forced to admit that it’s not fair to tar all lefties with Sean Penn’s beard-bristle brush. I’d say the same applies here, even if the brick-throwers are Tea Partiers.
While the sensational lens through which traditional news orgs seem to be viewing the Tea Party movement–paranoid, racist, reactionary–is persuasive as hell to people who don’t already harbor small government sentiments, liberals shouldn’t pretend, after centuries of evidence to the contrary, that organic movements are as cohesive as established institutions, or possess any of the same internal controls. It’s just too messy and unscientific. Is the 700 Club responsible for Scott Roeder? Is the Nation of Islam responsible for Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad?
Of course not.