16 April 2010


In yesterday's post I pointed out the demographic makeup of the Tea Party movement, and suggested that, far from being representative of the American electorate, TPers are a radical fringe who believe that Republicans (and the nation) can never be conservative enough.

A friend and regular follower brought to my attention an article by Frank Rich in the NYTimes. The article places the movement in historical perspective, and also shines a light on the recent eruption of death threats and acts of vandalism against liberals and even moderates who don't happen to share the views of the radical right. In the process, Rich reveals an aspect of our current political unrest which cannot be overemphasized -- that beneath the surface, racism is an undeniable prime mover.

Our country's first black president has maintained a demeanor of balance and dignity, even when provoked in the most public and confrontational terms (witness his composure when Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted "You lie!", interrupting a nationally-televised Presidential address to Congress last September). While no one in a public forum has yet resorted to the N word, it's clear that Barack Obama's race is a problem for many who are still living in the pre-civil rights era. If his skin color were white, the level of virulence in public and Congressional debate would be far lower, this observer believes. But don't take my word for it. Please take the time to read Rich's article, and draw your own conclusions.

We live (ideally) in a diverse, pluralistic society, one in which I may disagree with your views, but I will defend your right to hold them. It would be a shame to allow our ideals to be smeared by rigid ideology, or worse, by domestic terrorism.

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