Representative John Lewis
The Tea Party Unveiled
They say that history often repeats itself and this was never more evident than during the events of this past Saturday. On the 45th Anniversary of the historic successful walk into Selma, US Representative John Lewis found himself face to face with hatred and vile behavior that could only pull him back to the events of the day some 45 years ago. For those of you who are unaware of the Representatives past, he was savagely beaten during the initial walk into Selma only to return and make that gallant successful journey. As he listened to choruses of “Kill the bill nigger” followed by the vile act of spitting on Representative Emanuel Cleaver, The memory of Selma must have rang loudly in his head.
Selma is long gone but it seems much of the racial hatred embodied in those who gallantly threw stones and bottles at little black children is still alive and well in American culture. The Tea Party itself would like to claim these multiple instances of intolerance as isolated occurrences but one must ask this simple question. How many isolated occurrences must one experience before they can be officially declared a pattern? If a man only beats his wife every three months does it count as isolated occurrences making him innocent of being an abuser? When Jeremiah Wrights single sermon was aired, wasn't this proof of racism in the Trinity United Church of Christ, it was even expanded to label racists to include anyone who practices black liberation theology. According to reports of those in attendance “Kill the bill nigger” was not the emotional outburst of a single participant but a song like chorus that echoed throughout the group of protestors.
No matter how often Tea Party members repeat “We are not racist” to the rest of this country and the world, they have proven themselves as a group to be just that. While I do believe that most of those who connect themselves in some fashion truly believe that they as individuals are not racist in their way of thinking, this does not override the intentions and motivations of the group as a whole. You can claim the isolated incident defense but so long before reality intervenes, as it did on March 21, in the year of 1965 and 2010.
The sad thing In all this is that the Tea Party movement in its original form only carried small racial sentiments, sentiments that could be overlooked for the overall message, but once it allowed itself to be high jacked by a desperate Republican party that considered them nothing more than kooks out on the fringe, it was corrupted in order to carry the message of division fueled by racial and ethnic differences. This is not the first time such tactics have been used against the American public and I suggest that it will not be the last; however we must as a people recognize that as a society division is the cause of every dark corner in our past.
As a liberal I believe in many of the things that have drawn so many to the Tea Party movement, most notably over taxation. My problem with this movement is that it seems to have forgotten that we still claim status as the greatest nation on earth. With this comes both the liability of cost needed to maintain the status and the responsibility to provide maintenance. Individual wealth and personal possessions are only a small part of this countries greatness; even greater are its people and its humanity.
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