“I sent the club a wire stating, ‘PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER.’” — Groucho Marx, quoting a telegram he sent to the Friar’s Club of Beverly Hills, as recounted in Groucho and Me (1959), p. 321.
The Democratic Establishment is having a hard time playing “the Tea Parties are a violent organization” card because, to the Left’s chagrin, the Tea Parties aren’t violent at all. In stark contrast to the Bush era protests (or any Leftist protests), with their violent words and imagery, the mountains of trash left behind, the confrontations with police, and the random vandalism that followed in the protests’ wakes, the Tea Parties have been uniformly characterized by shiny, happy people who just happen to have gathered to laud the Constitution and America’s fundamental freedoms. These aren’t Clockwork Orange protests; instead, they’re straight out of the Leave it to Beaver playbook.
But the violence claim was always the second arrow in the quiver, not the first. The first was, is now, and will continue to be, racism. Because the Tea Party protests are aimed against policies espoused by a black president, the Democratic operatives claim that the protests are, by definition, racist.
This makes sense if you’re a Progressive whose world view is inextricably bound up with identity politics. To me, Obama can be defined myriad ways: he’s a man who was raised in a Communist milieu, he’s a former drug user, he’s someone whose hostility to Israel and Jews neatly shades into antisemitism, he’s a product of the most liberal faction of the Ivy League schools, he’s a lousy constitutional lawyer, he’s an avid supporter of Euro style (or, maybe, even Chavez/Castro style) Big Government, he’s a very angry person, and — oh, yes — he’s black.
To someone in thrall to identity politics, though, I’ve got it all bass ackwards. Obama’s skin color isn’t one factor amongst many. It is, instead, his single defining factor. Everything else is a mere subset of his blackness. Because he is black, he was raised with Communists, used drugs, hates Jews and Israel, fell in with Leftists at his Ivy League schools, understands that the constitution is a fraud, loves Big Government, and is angry.
Because the Progressive world view demands that Obama can only be the sum total of his race, anyone opposing the bits and pieces lurking under his skin color must inevitably be opposing, not the bits and pieces, but the color. Therefore, such opposition is, by definition, racist. Q.E.D.
Of course, the above is a subtle argument, logical to those steeped in the arcane race theories of the far Left, but a little bit challenging to explain to people who prefer watching American Idol over reading Noam Chomsky. So, if you’re a Progressive charged with making a convincing argument to a primitive television audience, logic requires that you go for a visual. That should convince the rubes sacked out on their sofas. And the perfect visual is the absence of black faces at the various Tea Parties. It must be because of racism, right?
Charles Blow, a black writer, provides a perfect example of this simplistic line of argument:
On Thursday, I came here outside Dallas for a Tea Party rally.
I had specifically come to this rally because it was supposed to be especially diverse. And, on the stage at least, it was. The speakers included a black doctor who bashed Democrats for crying racism, a Hispanic immigrant who said that she had never received a single government entitlement and a Vietnamese immigrant who said that the Tea Party leader was God. It felt like a bizarre spoof of a 1980s Benetton ad.
The juxtaposition was striking: an abundance of diversity on the stage and a dearth of it in the crowd, with the exception of a few minorities like the young black man who carried a sign that read “Quit calling me a racist.”
I found the imagery surreal and a bit sad: the minorities trying desperately to prove that they were “one of the good ones”; the organizers trying desperately to resolve any racial guilt among the crowd. The message was clear: How could we be intolerant if these multicolored faces feel the same way we do?
Blow reserves special venom for Alfonzo “Zo” Rachel, who needs no introduction here. I’ve link to him many times here, ever since I first saw his martial arts/political discussion video. You and I may see Zo as an independent thinker, who took his life experience and applied it to the political scene, but Blow views Zo as a half ignorant Uncle Tom, half minstrel show:
They saved the best for last, however: Alfonzo “Zo” Rachel. According to his Web site, Zo, who is black and performs skits as “Zo-bama,” allowed drugs to cost him “his graduation.” Before ripping into the president for unconstitutional behavior, he cautioned, “I don’t have the education that our president has, so if I misinterpret some things in the founding documents I kind of have an excuse.” That was the understatement of the evening.
Zo, understandably, has a few things to say on his own behalf in the face of this attack. I’ll only add that, considering that Blow works for the whiter-than-white New York Times, one has to ask who’s the real token black. But that’s a discussion for another day, and one best held after Blow has spent some time asking himself why he’s carrying water for a corporation that refuses him, and those like him, access to its highest ranks.
These attacks against whites for racism based on nothing more than pale visuals doesn’t end with political protests. The whole “no blacks at the party equals racism” approach has invaded the sports world too:
A Boston sports radio host on Friday called Heisman Trophy-winning football star Tim Tebow’s “lily white” NFL draft party a “Nazi rally.”
For those unfamiliar, 98.5 FM “The Sports Hub” in Boston is home to the NFL’s Patriots and the NHL’s Bruins.
The morning drive-time program between 6 and 10 AM is called “Toucher and Rich” as it’s hosted by Fred “Toucher” Toettcher and Rich Shertenlieb.
According to the Boston Herald, Toucher on Friday stuck his foot in his mouth BIG TIME.
Fred “Toucher” Toettcher said yesterday on 98.5 The Sports Hub, “It looked like some kind of Nazi rally. . . . So lily-white is what I’m trying to say. Yeah, Stepford Wives.”
Toettcher clearly believes that, if Tebow doesn’t have minorities at his party, it’s because he is a hate-filled, racist, who would cheerfully consign anyone who is neither lily-white nor Christian to the gas chambers. Right? That must be what he meant when he compared a draft party to a Nazi gathering.
It doesn’t seem to occur to any of these race baiters that the absence of blacks may have nothing to do with the whites, and everything to do with the blacks. Story after story about the Tea Party, even those stories written by people oozing hostility and defensiveness, shows that the white Tea Partiers are welcoming to all comers (except for infiltrators, of course). Nor is there any credible evidence of racism at these events. (And no, shouting “Kill the Bill” is not the same thing as “Kill the Black person,” no matter how much you wish it was.)
The Tea Partiers are bound together by their love for America, not their hatred for “the other.” The Tea Parties are part of a constitutionally based movement that embraces all Americans regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexually orientation, or country of origin. For example, please check out the Mount Vernon Statement, as a perfect example as one can find of the pure American ideology that animates Tea Partiers.
Why, then, if Tea Partiers have a neutral political ideology and welcome all comers are black people conspicuously absent? There is, of course, the obvious fact that blacks, who are a relatively small percent of the American population, will therefore be a small percent of the Tea Party attendees. (For more information on black attendance, this is helpful.) That’s just a numbers thing, though. The deeper answer may be that American blacks have been encouraged to love their party more than they love their country.
For generations, blacks have been raised to see America, not as a land of opportunity, but as a land of white racial hatred, a land of slavery, and a land which made its fortune with the blood of blacks. (Thinking about it, it’s a bizarre inversion of the Rogers and Hammerstein song, “You’ve got to be carefully taught.”) For American blacks, salvation lies in the arms of the Democrats, their only safe haven in a dangerous land. What’s sad is that this stark Leftist view of history destroys all the nuances that would allow American blacks to approach politics by examining the practical realities of their lives, both at the micro level (their own homes and communities) and the macro level (American politics and national security).
How do you tell people who put their hands over their ears and say “I’m not listening” that, yes, America was complicit in the slave trade, but that she couldn’t have been if it wasn’t for the fact the slaves’ fellow Africans were equally complicit. (And kudos to Henry Louis Gates for finally acknowledging what every honest historian has always known, a shout out he deserves despite his clinging to the reparations idea.)
How do you explain that, in terms of sheer numbers, America was one of the nations least complicit in the slave trade? That doesn’t remove the stain, of course, but it does make one wonder why the U.S. is singled out for the greatest opprobrium.
How do you explain that America’s wealth was not built on the slavery, which was, in fact, a singularly unprofitable way to run a business, and one that was barely self-sustaining? Again, that doesn’t remove the stain, but it does rebut the canard that America’s pre-recession, pre-trillion dollar debt wealth was founded on an institution that ended almost 150 years ago.
One also has to ask — doesn’t America get some credit for the fact that she engaged in a savage civil war, with hundreds of thousands of deaths, in significant part to end this ancient institution?
Lastly, shouldn’t American blacks know that, up until the late 1960s, it was the Democratic party that was the slavery, Jim Crow, racist party? Republicans may historically have been the party of wealth and casual disdain for blacks, but they were never the party that was founded on and dedicated to racial hatred. Yet is the Republicans who must bear the falsely appended “racist” label for all time.
My questions are obviously rhetorical. As long as Democrats control the unions that control education, and as long as the black community is in thrall to the Democratic party, American blacks will not know these facts.
As is so often the case, history isn’t what actually happened, it’s what people believe happened. The truth is irrelevant once the myth is firmly in place. And the Democratic myth is one that has created a deep schism in America’s psyche. In 40 plus years, despite Democratic and Progressive denial, the vast majority of white Americans have learned to treat blacks with the trust and equality that Martin Luther King envisioned when he said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And in that same time, blacks have been taught to hate and distrust those same ordinary Americans.
And the end result, of course, is that few American blacks can contemplate joining the Tea Parties, a series of clubs nationwide that would happily have blacks as their members. It’s not that the Tea Partiers don’t want the blacks; it’s that American blacks have been educated to the point in which it is impossible for them to contemplate joining the Tea Parties.