My wife once attended a school board meeting where one gentleman, frustrated by his failure to sway the other members to his side of the debate, showed up dressed in combat fatigues and camouflage, opened up his briefcase and produced a shoe which he used to BANG INCESSANTLY ON THE TABLE until the board president adjourned the meeting.
I went on to write a column where I said when you pull a silly and stupid stunt like that it no longer matters whether you are right or wrong; when I can’t hear what you’re trying to say, you lose the argument by default.
For months we’ve heard the loud and raucous anger of the Tea Party protestors wasn’t fueled by racism but by concern over deficit spending and healthcare reform. We were assured the few idiots who did carry signs comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler or depicting him as a witch doctor were only a small lunatic fringe and not representative of the movement .
In fact, the real insult according to leading figures within the Tea Party was how the actions of a few rotten apples were being blown out of proportion to tarnish everybody else.
It must be nearing the midnight hour. Saturday in Washington the masks came off and the true face of the protestors were exposed for all to see.
Yesterday, Tea Party protestors, upset over the upcoming vote in the House of Representatives screamed “kill the bill” and called Rep. John Lewis a “nigger.” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was spat on by a protestor and Cleaver was hurried away by Capitol police who arrested the person. Cleaver declined to press charges. In a separate incident demonstrators called Rep. Barney Frank a “faggot.”
Whether it is fueled by fact or fear, earnest concern or partisan perspective, honest difference of opinion or a complete disdain for the opposing viewpoint, when you start calling people “nigger” or “faggot” or spit on them and mock them for suffering with Parkinson’s Disease that is when the argument is over and you have lost it.
I believe in every American’s right to demonstrate peacefully for the causes they believe in, but when you can’t control your hatred and bigotry, I don’t have any more regard for you than you do for me.
For months we’ve been told the racists and crazies are only a teeny, tiny minority of the Tea Party protests. Well, you can take that bullshit and sell it somewhere else because nobody is buying it here. If these people are the minority, they’re the vocal minority and the only ones whose matter because nobody else seems to be trying all that hard to repudiate their bigotry. No one in the Tea Party itself and certainly none of the contemptible cowards who make up the Republican leadership who think appealing to racist and homophobic rage will sweep them back into power.
Maybe they’re right. Appealing to the racism of some White voters took George Wallace pretty far before some nut shot him. The same thing might well happen for the GOP in 2010. Rage is a powerful incentive to cast a ballot against someone, but most folks don’t like extremists from either side of the fringe.
The dangerous thing is how much further into anger, resentment and hate the Tea Party can tap into before something even uglier and far more dangerous happens? They keep warning not to push them too far. Maybe they should be worrying what might happen to them if they push everybody else too hard.
My blood doesn’t run cold at the prospect of a Democratic meltdown in November. Big damn deal. After eight years of the Bush/Cheney cabal, the self-absorbed anger of a bunch of Tea Party bigots doesn’t phase me. They don’t have the monopoly on rage.
The Party of No has made a deal with the devil to climb into bed with a motley group of racists, homophobes, and extremists. Let’s see if they can get back out with their dignity intact.
At some point if The Tea Party supporters want to shake the “racist” tag they’re going to have to make it clear they do not welcome, tolerate or support racism AT ALL.
Because until they do, I have no reluctance in deeming the entire Tea Party a pack of seething bigots who are primarily motivated by an intense racially motivated animus against the president.
As Dennis Green said, “They are who we thought they were.”