Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mark Williams and the Endless Allegations of Tea Party Racism

I'm a little late to this story, mainly because I really don't care anymore, given the scale of the left's investment in "racism" (and what I have to say won't make that much of a difference in the long run). The background is here: "Tea Party Express Leader’s ‘Colored People’ Letter to Lincoln Draws Fire." But CNN is now reporting that Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams has been removed from the umbrella organization. See, "Tea Party Express Leader Gets the Boot." And there's more at CBS, "Tea Party Leader: NAACP Is Playing the Race Card."

There's a thread building on Memeorandum, with all the usual suspect denouncing the "racist" teabaggers. But I'm struck by how lucid Williams is on the issues at this MSNBC news clip below. He clearly meant this "letter to Lincoln" as a satirical (if forceful) poke at the internal inconsistencies of the NAACP. (And I don't know the woman at the tape, but she refused to even discuss the possibility that the name itself --- the "National Association of Colored People" --- is in fact a unproductive relic of the Jim Crow era, and thus didn't really allow Williams to delve as hard on the point as he might have.) And while some have pointed out that NAACP was repudiating "elements" of the tea party, that's simply too vague a notion and it's come across throughout the 'sphere as a blanket condemnation. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic's house expert on race relations, after a cursory review of allegedly "racist" tea party leaders, came out strong in his condemnation of both Williams and the tea party, "
The NAACP Is Right":

I'm left with the notion that many of us that like to consider ourselves sober-minded and fair, have forgotten the history of this country we love. No matter. I cannot speak for others, but I was immediately jogged back to reality by the Tea Party's response:
You're dealing with people who are professional race-baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It's time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history...
This is not some deluded crazy, who has infiltrated the Tea Party with an offensive sign. This is the national spokesman for the Tea Party Express claiming that one of the authors of the 20th century American revolution is actually a "vile racist" organization. This is who they are--America's far right-wing, speaking with all the emboldened ignorance that is fast becoming their stock in trade. I have had, and continue to have, my criticism of the NAACP. But the notion that they are somehow being unfair to the Tea Party, that President Obama should denounce the NAACP, says a lot about our desire to forget and their insistence that we do no such thing.
I'm sure Ta-Nehisi Coates is a nice guy. And he means well. But when you make your entire career around finding examples of continuing racism in America it's pretty hard to see the big picture. The tea party is just today's convenient racist BOO-BOO-BOGEYMAN for a Democratic-leftist establishment that's completely out of steam. You'll find racists in any organization, but since Obama's come to office I've yet to meet a tea partier who didn't denounce explicit Jim Crow-style racist sympathies. And I never actually seen such sympathies at an event (or when I have it's been among Democrats like the LaRouchies). The tea party is simply not an organization built on racial hostility, despite never-ending attempts and infiltration programs designed to delegitimize the movement.

And at what cost? One of the most interested pieces of data in the recent Pew survey on voters' ideology is that fully 48 percent of the respondents hadn't heard of the tea parties. These kinds of people are either relatively apolitical or simply uninformed about politics on a close day-to-day basis. A lot of people like this will have a heightened attention-span a month or two before the election, and they may be moved by the left's attacks on the tea parties as racist. Mostly though, voters are looking at big issues like the economy and jobs, so all the investment in red-flagging these so-called racist elements everywhere on the right works in fact to further highlight the Democratic Party's policy and political impotence.

That said, I think the proposal out today for a tea party convention on race relations is a good one. Those most in the know on this stuff are activists and insiders, and they can have a impact on media memes and campaign agendas. I'd like to see how it would be organized and who would participate as representatives of all sides, but if folks really did dig down deep on the issues (the culture of poverty, failing inner-city education, decline of the black family, etc.), then we could actually make some progress.

See WSJ, "
Tea Party Leader Backs Proposed Summit on Racism."


Dogmeat said...

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Tea Party for electing Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown since he voted for the Financial Reform Bill and help the President of the United States with another legislative victory, thank you Tea Party. Have you heard of “Unintended Consequences” or “Blowback”? Was he working for the Tea Party, himself or our Country, hmmm only you can answer this one?

The problem is this. Tea Party candidates will win a number of these congressional races because local districts are often safely partisan in nature. They can make their wild, unfounded claims, crazy accusations, etc., and win. That means not only are we likely to see an increase in Republican seats in both houses, we're likely to see more antics, more insanity, more stupidity. At the same time they're going to do everything they can to derail Obama's policies which will likely mean high unemployment, a moribund economy, and more compromises on policy positions that make no one happy.

That could literally mean that if the Republicans put up a legitimate candidate in 2012, they could win. Such a result is bad enough, but the likely response for the Democrats is to move further to the "middle" to placate voters. As we've seen over the last decade, the "middle" in American politics is basically on the verge of being an 80s Republican. Increasingly that means we'll have a political landscape of a conservative party and ratfuck insane parties. The former, given it's track record, slowly moving to the right, the latter, given it's track record, loudly screaming "socialism, communism, fascism!!!"

If we continue on this course, privatization will be socialism.