Tea Party show their true colors
There has always been a nasty element to the Tea Party. This has been abundantly clear for anyone outside of the “movement” and who doesn’t see through the Dixieland Rose tinted glasses, or who’s brains have not been mushed to pieces by another hour of their esteemed leader Glenn Beck.
However this past weekend, the historic weekend where Healthcare reform finally was passed, the right wing fringe movement, finally put down it’s polished veneer and showed itself to be nothing more than a racist, bigoted, ignorant group, driven by pure hatred and unadulterated idiocy.
Of course if I am fair, the Tea Parties true colors have never really been hidden but after the past weekend, which Sarah Palin helpfully rallied her faithful to: “Sign the petition here to remind Congress that “November Is Coming.” As Rep. Boehner said today, “Republicans can’t beat this bill, but the American people can.” Stand strong together!”, the actions taken by some and condemned by no one on the Right, show that to allow this movement anymore of a hold on American politics is to allow nothing more than a downward spiral in democracy and fairness.
I am sure there are some within the movement who are there for genuine reasons but the silence from them as they stand by and allow their movement to be tainted by those who chanted racist slogans at Representatives John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver, and who also shouted homophobic language at Barney Frank, only serves to show to anyone who stands from outside that this group is purely feed by the fact that a black man resides in the White House.
Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted “nigger” Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.
The protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, lawmakers said.
Protestors also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress. A writer for Huffington Post said the crowd called Frank a “faggot.”
Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as ‘homo.’
Of course as is typical the blogosphere is full of apologists for the movement, with some outright denying the attacks were made, and some trying to use the old addage that the Left showed signs equating Bush with Hitler during anti-war protests. Well sorry but anyone with an inkling of knowledge of Nazi Germany understands completely why that allegation was made and it still does not make any difference to the fact that racism, homophobia and violence – oh yes, more about that soon – have no place and can not be justified at all.
The racism did not end there. As the Huffington Post points out, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) received on Monday, following the vote, faxes that were racist in nature and also images of nooses which as anyone who understands the struggle of black people in America, have many worrying and wide ranging implications. Clyburn, speaking to Keith Olberman said:
“If you look at some of the faxes that I got today, racial slurs, nooses on gallows, and I’m telling you, some very vicious language. This stuff is not all that isolated. It’s pretty widespread. I hope it’s not too deep.”
Many of us outside their movement have pointed to the signs during the many rallies, some which used language meant to be derogatory to ethnic people, or others which have latched full and square onto the Birthers movement, but still the Tea Party have grown, their skin thick enough to wash these accusations off. However following the vileness of this weekend there are many calls for the Right to once and for all distance themselves from this group. As The Guardian in the UK pointed out, some members of the Right have alligned themselves with the Party to be seen as supporting what is touted as a grass root’s movement – that and the fact that the Tea Party have set anyone who does not support their brand of conservatism, in their sights as targets for pushing out of office – John McCain is one as I mentioned in my previous article today.
The Guardian goes on:
Republicans are now finding themselves in alignment with a movement in which some members feel that it is OK to shout out racist and homophobic insults (including the N-word) and spit at Congressmen as happened this weekend when the Tea Party protested against healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.
Despite the weekend’s shocking behaviour – one Congressman and civil rights leader, John Lewis, said he had not experienced such attacks since the 1960s – Republicans, particularly GOP chairman Michael Steele, spent the weekend defending and rationalising those Tea Party goers’ actions. This is dangerous ground for the Republican party.
As The Guardian points out and as others have shared, by not only defending but continually trying to be affiliated with this group, the Right will make themselves weak, especially as Americans finally get to see for themselves the virtues of the Bill – (a bill that the Right have lied and feared about for the past year with the help of the Tea Party and it’s friends such as Palin and her “death panels”) and will be able to understand it’s merits on their own accord. Appealling to this movement after the actions of the weekend, will only drag the Right down.
As I also mentioned, vile language was not the only order of the day this weekend. Some who voted for the Bill had their property attacked.
The Buffalo News reported last Friday that a brick was thrown through the window of U.S. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter. Slaughter, a Democrat is part of the body that structured “the debate on health care reform”. And violence was also alluded to, with signs at the rally on Saturday. As ThinkProgress writes:
ThinkProgress attended today’s rally and spotted a sign threatening violence if health care passes. The sign reads: “Warning: If Brown can’t stop it, a Browning can,” referring to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and a Browning firearm:
Well I am sorry but doesn’t that at least deserve someone, anyone from the Right stepping forward and saying that they condemn this behavior? Well I would, you would, they won’t. Why? Because sometimes it’s hard to see who is influencing who. As the Washington Post writes on it’s commentary of the passing of the Bill, the violent epitaphs were nto just coming from those outside the Senate.
As lawmakers debated their way to a vote on the legislation, dozens of GOP lawmakers walked from the chamber, crossed the Speaker’s Lobby, stepped out onto the members-only House balcony — and proceeded to incite an unruly crowd.
Thousands of conservative “tea party” activists had massed on the south side of the Capitol, pushing to within about 50 feet of the building. Some Democrats worried aloud about the risk of violence, and police tried to keep the crowd away from the building.
But rather than calm the demonstrators, Republican congressmen whipped the masses into a frenzy. There on the House balcony, the GOP lawmakers’ legislative dissent and the tea-party protest merged into one. Some lawmakers waved handwritten signs and led the crowd in chants of “Kill the bill.” A few waved the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag of the tea-party movement. Still others fired up the demonstrators with campaign-style signs mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Freedom of Speech is one thing but the scenes over the weekend do not allow for this and are abominations on the Freedom of Speech – inciting hatred, putting up signs which put the idea into someone’s head that a gun is an option for repeal, this is not the actions of a sane group and not one that a political group wants to be associated with.
I hope now the Bill has passed, the Tea Party will face opposition that will see it fade into the background one and for all. It’s one track record is now gone, and for all the cries of repeal by the right there is no way that this Bill will be thrown out yet. And Obama and the Democrats should use this bill’s passing as a momentum to move forward and show the people once and for all that Healthcare reform is not the boogeyman the Right and the Tea Party have made it out to be – and that in fact the only boogeymen are the Right and the Tea Party.
Enough is enough. Hope and change are working, it may not always be to my liking, it may not always work the way we want it to, but I would rather have that then whatever they are selling and anyone politically standing with this violent, racist and ignorant group, would serve themselves well to see that the Tea Party have run their course and to be associated with them is only a path to political suicide. I hope that the scenes from this weekend help end them too.
Please watch this great video from Rachel Maddow this week as she speaks about standing up to the abuse:
- The Tea Party, Civil Rights, and Glenn Beck’s Rally on MLK Anniversary (politicsdaily.com)
- WA primary: Tea party crashes (ridenbaugh.com)
- Why Won’t Sarah Palin and Tea Party Leaders Condemn Racism in Their Midst? (alternet.org)