Rep. Andre Carson said that the Tea Party is “protecting its millionaire and oil company friends while gutting critical services that they know protect the livelihood of African-Americans, as well as Latinos and other disadvantaged minorities.”
“This is the effort that we’re seeing of Jim Crow,” Carson said. “Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens.”
“Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.”
Folks who likely never cared much for Rep. Carson in the first place are, pretty much on cue, hitting the ceiling, clutching their pearls, getting the vapors, and heading for the fainting couches.
Rep. Carson is alluding to the days of Jim Crow when, like it or not, lynching was a problem. Now, let’s start here: do Tea Partiers want to lynch black people? There might be a couple, but that’s probably about it.
So why might the allusion occur to Rep. Carson? Because he has an irrational need to tell lies about the Tea Party? I doubt it. I think it starts here: “We need to take our country back.”
Yet the speech that opened the Nashville event yesterday, an address greeted with whoops and cheers from the mainly white audience, reflects a movement that also appears to have a less attractive side to it.
Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman who ran for president in 2008 on an anti-illegal immigration platform, said of the voters who elected Mr Obama: “They could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English and they put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House — Barack Hussein Obama!”
Decrying America’s multiculturalism, Mr Tancredo said that Republicans and Democrats had voted for a black man because they felt they had to. To a standing ovation, he shouted: “We really do have a culture to pass on to our children: it’s based on Judaeo-Christian values.”
“This is our country,” he declared. “Let’s take it back!” He added, to applause: “Cultures are not the same. Some are better. Ours is best!” The crowd, some wearing recently purchased T-shirts saying “Keep the change — I’ll keep my FREEDOM my GUNS and my MONEY”, loved it.
This is not isolated craziness from Tom Tancredo. “We need to take our country back” has been a drum beat. The question “back from whom” is rarely asked. But, President Obama is a committed socialist in the same universe where Tea Partiers are lynching black people. Somehow the socialism accusation doesn’t prompt the blood boiling pearl clutching that these Jim Crow allegations from Rep. Carson have.
Now, what must this “take the country back” business sound like to the part of the American population from whom the Tea Party wants to take the country back? What does “back” mean to them in historical terms? In some cases it’s lynching; in a lot of cases it’s a deprivation of civil rights.
But, when Matt Tully’s editors tell him to drop everything and go report on Rep. Carson’s “hanging from trees” comments; I’ll bet they’re not looking for a nuanced discussion. They’re looking for a story on how Rep. Carson has hurt the feelings of folks like Sen. Banks who is outraged and offended and, consequently, demanding an apology.
Perhaps it’s because I’m on the other side of the fence on (just to take an example — not seeking to describe the universe of topics where political rhetoric gets overheated) reproductive rights, but I don’t see this kind of push for political food-fight coverage every time a pro-life lawmaker refers to “baby killing.” In part, I think that’s because the Left doesn’t do outrage and taking offense nearly as effectively.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, all of this unpleasantness has left me quite unsettled.