Monday, April 26, 2010

Is the Tea Party A Racist Movement?

Stupid question! Just look at these people. Racism drips from their fangs. Of course they are racists.

Hold on a second. I have a different take.

I see the Tea Party as a reactionary movement. They are against any sort of social progress of any kind. In the 1700s, they led the "Whiskey Rebellion" against federal taxation of alcohol and the East in general. In the 1800s, they were the "Know Nothings" against Catholics, immigration, and federal funding of highways (such as they were), canals, and railroads. Later, they were against the abolition of slavery, and in favor of wiping out the Indians.

In the early 20th Century, they were against women's suffrage, popular election of senators, national parks, Teddy Roosevelt, and immgration. Then they were against the New Deal, and railed against American aid to Britain on the eve of the second world war. After the war, they wanted to dismantle Social Security, find communists everywhere, and ban modern art. They hated birth control, progressive education, the integration of the military, and Medicare.

In the 1980s, after their genial representative, Ronald Reagan, was elected, they actually believed that he wanted to shrink the federal government, and overlooked his rescue of Social Security and gigantic deficits. In the 1990s, they went after Bill Clinton's infidelities, and hated his wife for not being a demure First Lady in the traditional style. And they despised anything having to do with gay people.

Throughout most of American history, americanus reactionus has been virulently anti-Semitic. That changed in the 1980s, when the best-selling "Left Behind" books popularized the rapture heresy, a Christian doctrine that arose in the 19th Century. Suddenly, Jews who had once been hated were embraced, on the belief that the State of Israel's existence is key to the return of Jesus H. Christ. Bagels for everyone!

So, now Barack Obama is president, and the Tea Party is hauling out every racist cliche in the book, while claiming the American flag as their own. But does that make the Tea Party a racist movement? Nope, it makes it a reactionary movement. For sure, racism is a wrench in the tool kit. But there are plenty of others. I don't mean to excuse their racism for a microsecond, but rather to place it in an accurate historical context.

We are a complex country of 308 million people with two political parties. Each of them is a fragile coalition of disparate interests. The Tea Party is the crazy aunt in the Republican Party's attic. She's been there forever, but for the past 15 years, she's been running loose on the front lawn, waving her shotgun and screaming her demented head off.

Where are the men in the white coats, holding the nets?


  1. Grinder, I must thank you for this profound and insightful post the best yet about the dubious nature of tea partiers, racism is just one of many tools in their pouch and they have a dual sided hammer when racism is coupled with abundant ignorance. I wonder where we would be if the conservative agenda had never been swayed how would slavery be practiced in a modern industrial society or would the attainment of modern technology be anathema to a truly conservative state? The list of positions listed above shows clearly that the stands taken by amercanius reactionus (nice name) have thankfully been overruled by separate forms of liberal legislation, the list was illuminating in another fashion by juxtaposing the various issues over time you see the slow yet triumphant march of man as he rises from knuckle dragging to bank raiding the inevitable fits and starts associated with the process of evolution. Just read the list with an eye towards the social progress the flowering of individual rights, the righteous consequence of change, this proves evolution right there, as species evolve so do societies! I have been feeling a little dejected towards my fellow man but Grinder this post proves that progress is forward in this country and I am a firm believer in impetus. Right now we are and have been inexorably moving towards a more genial society. Not unlike a large iceberg moving in an ocean current it will take something Titanic to push us from this path and that is where it does become disconcerting. I have seen an uptick in internet chatter about nuclear this, bomb that, 10 kiloton blast radius, response times, fallout patterns etc.. This is the titanic thing that could not only destroy impetus but also alter trajectory. Our reaction after 9-11 is a chilling testimony to the discombobulated nature of this country what horrible events would transpire if 300,000 die in the next horrific attack. A changing of the guard, a new government,revolution, military coup, a complete fascist takeover, or species annihilation? Either way I wish that crazy ass aunt would get off our front lawn!

  2. Thanks, froghair. I think I've said this before to you, but if I haven't, I have thoroughly appreciated and respected your comments on Field's blog. It has been too crazy there to continue to comment other than to throw in an "Anon" every now and then, but I've always been interested in what you have to say.

    It's tempting to think that the Tea Party is motivated by Obama's race. I do think the whole "birther" group is straight-ahead racist, and I do think the Tea Party is ever so happy to use racist appeals, both direct and indirect. But, as I wrote, I think the driving force behind them is wider than that.

    What convinced me of my view was a simple question: If Obama had flamed out in the primaries and Hillary Clinton had been elected instead, would these Tea Party crowds exist? My answer was, "You're damn right they would."

    Obviously, they wouldn't be calling her a nigger. They'd be calling her a fascist lesbian bitch, and people would be asking whether the Tea Party was a sexist movement. Hence, my view of them as americanus reactionus. Whatever rock is handy, they'll throw it.

    As a society, we take two steps forward, one step back. I consider Obama's election a real milestone in American history. It was one of those shining moments, and nothing can ever erase it. As for the crazy aunt on the lawn, I partly blame the Democrats for her continued presence there. They have been afraid to call her out for what she is.