Friday, March 26, 2010

True Colors

I have to admit, I am somewhat surprised with the utter surprise the mainstream media seems to greet the recent Tea Party insanity. I feel that anyone could've seen this coming. It's been three years in the making. The homophobic and racist comments, the spittle on Rep. Cleaver, the death threats, and cut gas lines are only a continuation of the arc started in 2007 and may very well just be a precursor of things to come.

That arc started its trajectory in Iowa when two Clinton campaign workers started an anonymous email accusing Barack Obama of being a closet Muslim. While Clinton disavowed the email, that same missive continued to appear in people's in-boxes all across the country, and through not-so-subtle innuendo they continued to use Obama's race and supposed otherness to play against the fears of a disaffected white working class, somehow suggesting that he would be "dangerous" for this country. This strategy did indeed work in states like Pennsylvania where that population was large enough to affect the election. And up until the very end of the primary contest, they continued to contest the legitimacy of his win.

Republicans picked up the thread during the general election campaign. "Barack Hussein Obama." "Palling around with terrorists." For the "real Americans" who just could not grasp, could not handle, and actually feared a black man's being President of the United States, the seeds were planted and were nourished by the Clintons and the GOP. And when Barack Hussein Obama actually became the President of the United States, their worst fears were realized.

Those fears have been simmering since the slave revolution in Haiti, the utter paranoia that black folks would somehow take over and seek revenge. They have been fanned throughout American history, and now, to them, that day is here.

The Birthers expressed it with their claims that Obama isn't legitimate because he was never born in the US. And when that wasn't enough, the Tea Party was born. When you listen to their complaints, when you listen to their ringleaders, Beck and Limbaugh, and when you listen to their GOP cheerleaders, you hear that fear. You hear that eschatological mania that the end is near. John Boehner himself rages on about "Armageddon." And among the complaints of Marxism and Nazism, of death panels and abortion, of "government take-over" and of illegal immigrants taking our health care, you hear one common refrain: "We need to take our country back!" back to when "this country was free!"

As all revisionist thought goes, they have a romantic notion of this country's freedom that was not free for a lot of us but definitely was for them. When these middle-aged and elderly (and some of their progeny) envision America, they are not thinking of DC 2010 but Selma 1960. And yeah, for them, this country was most definitely free.

Hell, white folks had so much freedom, it was murder--for the rest of us. The white working class never had it so good. They had good jobs with good pay. One man could work 40 hours, support an entire, rather large family, buy a house in the suburbs, relax on weekends, and even take a vacation or two.

Women cooked the meals, tended to the kids, and did the housework. Blacks weren't allowed to compete for the same jobs, didn't go to the same schools, and couldn't even find their neighborhoods even if GPS had been invented at the time. Latinos were called "Spanish," and they couldn't even tell you what one fucking looked like. Orientals were just enemies you had to travel to the other side of the world to fight on occasion. And all these other races and religions we are now surrounded by didn't even exist in their minds.

Now everything's changed.

There are no good working-class jobs. The illegals have taken them all. They fill up our schools for free. Take our health care for free. Fill up our jails and our welfare rolls. Along with the blacks. Who do nothing but rape, rob, and rap. The Arabs blow up our buildings. And the Asians own this country lock, stock, and barrel.

So yeah, I'll say it: The Tea Party movement ain't nothing but about race.

Sure, economics are definitely involved. After all, there really are no good working-class jobs in this country. But the white working class never blames the white ruling class who has shrunk their wages, broke their unions, and outsourced their jobs. They never do. They always blame the coloreds for their demise and the demise of this country. It is a fear that has consumed them since the birth of this nation, and it continues today. And now, they feel justified in that fear because a colored is running the damned country!

As Tom, a middle-aged white guy, told me when I went to a Tea Party rally: "They're just a bunch of racists. They're scared. They don't know where this country's going. They see Obama in the White House and a Latina on the Supreme Court, and it pisses them off."

There is a "New World Order." The country is less and less white, and they find minorities running the country and, to them, running this country down. They don't see a place in this new world for themselves. They are trapped. Cornered. Just like those Southerners in Selma back in '60. And just like those Alabamans, the Tea Baggers have decided to fight back. And they know just who to fight back against, the very symbol of all that's wrong, evil, and anti-American about this country--Barack Hussein Obama!

But these Tea Baggers can't come clean. They can't actually say they don't like Obama because he's black. Even racists get a little tetchy when you call them racists, and many of them actually don't want to be identified with such sentiments even as they voice them every day. So, instead, you get all this garbled rhetoric. We hear that the man is a Communist and a Nazi and an Islamic terrorist. We hear that he's taking over the country, taking away their freedoms. That he is dangerous and illegitimate.

The Republicans, seeing political opportunity and caring nothing for moral responsibility, have joined the mob. They have contributed in ratcheting up the rhetoric. They harangue about how dangerous Obama is, the Communist takeover. John Boehner himself has called health care reform "the most dangerous legislation" he has ever seen. Palin "targets" Dems with cross hairs while Glenn Beck openly encourages taking up arms and encouraging "revolution."

With their fears being drummed into hysteria, with their very own media and political leaders encouraging that hysteria, with open talk of taking up arms and revolution and a wacko slamming his plane into an IRS office being hailed a "hero," how can we be in the least bit surprised that these people are physically assaulting politicians and cutting people's gas lines praying for murder?

Their cause has become a righteous one. Stopping Obama is now their patriotic duty. And this weekend is only a precursor, their Boston Tea Party, if you will. First, they're targeting the "niggers, faggots, and baby-killers" who run Congress. But these fools are working themselves up for someone to take out Obama. All this hyperbolic vitriol has been in preparation for that eventuality. They want someone to get worked up enough to actually take that shot, and they want to feel justified when they're happy that someone has done it.

So, don't think this past week's violence was just a one-off. It was a mere flirtation that may very well come to a bloody conclusion. There will be many Tea Party sympathizers who will be turned off by what has happened and will slink away from the movement. But others will simply feel even more victimized by the criticism. They will become even firmer in their convictions. And someone will act.

Alabama militiaman Mike Vanderboegh is openly encouraging people to throw bricks at Congressmen's offices. Many Tea Baggers are planning to protest Congressmen's private residences. And rumor has it that there's a planned open-carry gun rally in Virginia on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing (April 19) because they want to get as many guns as close to DC as possible.

Media talk around the Tea Party movement since August has been shrouded in uncertainty and speculation. The mainstream media has been suspicious, but they are utterly loathe to call anybody out as "racist" or "violent" or "dangerous." But that shroud has been lifted this week. Oh, they are trying to hide behind the rhetoric of "government take-over" and the yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flag. But only a fool or an opportunistic GOP hack can't see what the Tea Party really is. And someone needs to stop these fools before we are all watching a sea of red on CNN.


Paula said...

Unfortunately, I think you called it. I haven't felt this much tension in this country since the late 1960s-early 1970s. Actually, it could even be worse now because media has legitimized the radicals, something they didn't do then. It was easy to laugh at the naivite of kids swayed by the left, but today, radicalism is aligned with patriotism, as well as with a legitimate and respectable political party.
I looked at the Web site urging window-breaking (and more!) and feel certain it would be shut down if it were published by an avowed leftist or islamist.
I think our only hope is that the flamers -- Beck, Limbaugh, Boehner -- take some responsibility and start reigning in the rhetoric and putting that burgeoning energy into something positive like voter registration, community service -- I don't know what -- or anything that doesn't involve guns.

jadedj said...

Excellent post and analysis. I am fearful however, that a monster has been un-leased, and there's no putting it back in the bottle.