I’m sure by this point that most people who are political types have already formed an opinion of the matter of tea party racism and to the larger issue: if the Republican political strategy includes pandering to racist Americans.
I repeat again and again, too little avail, that not all tea party members are de facto racists.
I found it very unfortunate that so many on progressive side of politics were so quick to call Rand Paul a “racist” for expressing a standard libertarian point of view in regards to the Civil Rights Bill and the ADA. (Private enterprise craps rainbows is the short version of this pure libertarianism ideology.) Those perspectives are not racism, though they do tend to excite the racists out there. This alone, it is vital to point out, is not enough to place a person on the wrong side of the core issue of racial sensitivity or a lack thereof.
It is very easy to throw out a label, like “socialist” or “commie pinko,” but it’s harder to back it up. That was frustrating to see the left-wing doing the same unintelligent labeling based on ignorance that the right-wing has honed to a daily art.
I hear the sentiment more and more that people want to do away with labeling, but I only want to do away with all the negative labeling. I don’t see how we can escape the principal of using labels on groups of people as we so often do in politics. Something must have a name to become a movement, without a name to describe whatever ideological bent we are talking about it would be impossible to even discern accurately between them all.
The labels we choose to recognize ourselves by, and attribute to ourselves, are obviously the labels by which we wish to use and have function for us. I feel that we ever get beyond labels it will because all people stopped using them, and not before.
Then we come to issue of the dreaded label: racist. I’ve never been one to take away any fine glory from calling another person racist, but I also cannot simply remain silent as I witness specific cases over and over again.
There are many fine conservatives and even honest tea party-types out there, but they are the most hushed and pushed into the corner minority of the right-wing I’ve ever seen. Wherever these people be, I hear very little from them or of them.
My first experiences with the tea party were seeing a small protest with one sign reading:
No n-words, no overt racist slurs, no neo-Nazi symbols … just this kind of rhetoric. I found it to be racist in nature, in my personal opinion at the time.
Now Janeane Garofalo was downright mean on Keith Olbermann’s show, but I won’t link that video or repeat any of that here. But did she speak intelligently about the tea party with Rosie O’Donnell so I find it likely she was playing to the YouTube crowd with that one.
My complaints are more to the inclusion of fringe groups known for racism like the John Birch Society in CPAC as to the conservative side and the acceptance of “Birthers” (for lack of a better term) into the tea party side. These actions, and the glorifying of characters like Beck and Limbaugh who incite racial hatred for profit, amount to a very “toxic stew” to borrow a bit of their language.
I never said everyone right-wing was a racist, what a wild claim that would be! I’ve said people who did specific things, like write a sign about the “Black House” or suddenly find a love for the term “commie-socialist” (which makes zero sense by the way), are looking like they are motivated by white racism.
Am I supposed to say “in my opinion” like every other sentence or something?
We just has this opinion about comparing Obama to Hitler passed around and discussed like it was rational by Sara Palin and other far right extremists. Helen Thomas expressed an opinion in a manner I found distasteful and crass, but everyone seemed to forget she is was an opinion journalist.
Though how we state our opinions is important, I realize this well.
So I avoid the term ’teabaggers’ as much as possible (recently) and make a strong effort to declare what I present in the manner of an opinion be understood as an opinion.
But without getting too twisted into a pretzel here:
We all have to remember that you don’t get to control what other person’s opinion of your opinion is.
I personally believe the problems here are tied exactly to that, like the days of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Making statements in a vacuum, from any side of politics, is just getting really annoying.
I’ll back it up, we can have a Constitution quote-off over SB1070 or a Wiki-battle over Southern Strategy Republican racism. I do it all the time, it’s not a new thing it just happens in lightning speed transactions these days instead of “let me go home and grab a few books and we’ll pick this up later.”
I find myself desiring an Edward R. Murrow like figure to appear in our times … we desperately lack that kind of brutal and much needed honesty today. Perhaps more than ever.