The rallies started soon after the first African-American President took residence in the White House.
Crowds nearly as white as my 96-bright printer paper came to parks and public squares, carrying signs that said things like “Taxed Enough Already” even though the new President wasn’t raising their taxes.
It was, let’s say, “funny” how those same nearly all-white and heavily senior folks didn’t protest a year or two earlier when the White House was occupied by a fair-skinned fellow of all-Euro descent. You know, the fake cowboy who presided over ballooning deficits and bailed out the banks.
Not at all funny were the signs that depicted the new President with a bone through his nose, or the ones that called him a Kenyan or asked “Where’s the birth certificate?” Those signs were offensive and bespoke a feeling among Tea Partiers that they find the President foreign and contemptible.
Really, how could Tea Partiers be the slightest bit surprised that some observers would see racism in those rallies and the groups that staged them?
It was hardly a surprise to learn this week that a National Public Radio official would think they’re racist. The people at NPR are paying attention. They saw the way racist signs were accepted at Tea Party rallies and echoed at Tea Party websites where angry comments about Barack Hussein Obama’s foreign-ness were easily found.
(Side note: I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop on this week’s torqued-up NPR “scandal.” If history is any guide, we can expect to find out that the video was heavily “edited” by that O’Keefe bugfucker who produced it. I’ll bet there’s more to the story than credulous news outlets have reported so far.)
There is statistical evidence that Tea Party followers are, in fact, a racist lot. Or at least more racist than the average U.S. resident.
A poll last year by the University of Washington found Tea Party types were more racist and xenophobic in their responses. Fewer than half of Tea Party adherents agreed that blacks are hardworking or intelligent or trustworthy. Tea Partiers were far more likely than other Americans to say undocumented immigrants should be deported immediately.
Why am I saying all this now? Why bother to point out again what has been reported since 2009?
Well, first of all, I think it bears repeating. After all, some people still think the Tea Partiers “have a point,” and some naively think they’re only expressing legitimate, non-racist worries.
But most of all I’m wondering if there may be hope for a goodly portion of Tea Partiers. I believe economic pressures have been a prime motivator for many rally participants; they’re worried that their lifestyles will wither away in the coming years. If only they can see that the current president didn’t create the economic trends that threaten them, they can discard that Tea Party nonsense.
That’s my hope, based on countless interactions with Yankees who seem to have the reasoning abilities of normal homo sapiens. Sure, there’s a little racism inside some of them, but they do seem able to think. When confronted with the facts, they could change their minds.
You may say that I’m a dreamer, but surely I’m not the only one.