March 22, 2010

Klansmen, militias, and teabaggers

With healthcare reform coming to a head, it was a great week for Tea Party members and their conservative brethren. Yes, the racists are coming out of the woodwork to spew their messages of hate. Let's look at the news:

Tea party protesters scream 'nigger' at black congressman

Tea Party Protests: 'Ni**er,' 'Fa**ot' Shouted At Members Of Congress

Black Representative Says He Was Spat On By Anti-HCR Protester

What Happens When A Liberal Black Man Accidentally Ends Up At A Tea Party?!?"Go Back To Africa!"--As we were crossing Constitution headed toward the Capitol where the "rally" was taking place, the Obama motorcade just so happened to be headed up to the Hill for what I found out later was a well publicized meeting with Congressional Democrats. So, as the 20 deep delegation of black Tahoes sped by, TeaBaggers quickly ran to the curb (seriously, imagine a few hundred people running and wielding signs.) to serenade the most hated Negro this side of Barry Bonds. And like magic the "Go Back To Africa!" chants just materialized out of thin air. It was totally predictable, but still a little freakish.Nunes compares Obama administration to Saddam Hussein and Robert MugabeRep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, went on the Glenn Beck show on Fox news to claim the administration's move last week to increase water allotments in the San Joaquin Valley was a pay off to Valley Democratic Reps. Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa. Both hotly deny the charge, saying they are getting just a fraction of the water they demanded.

Nunes told Beck, "Glenn, it's important to note out that there are a couple of examples, current recent examples, one being Saddam Hussein who starved his people of water, and Robert Mugabe who currently starves his people of water."
State of the health care debate:  Talk radio attacks an 11-year old [black boy]

An 11-year-old Washington state boy whose mother died after she lost her job and her health insurance after becoming sick has come under fire from conservative talk show hosts and columnists.

By Les Blumenthal
Conservative talk show hosts and columnists have ridiculed an 11-year-old Washington state boy's account of his mother's death as a "sob story" exploited by the White House and congressional Democrats like a "kiddie shield" to defend their health care legislation.CVB drops hospitality executive's contract over controversial Obama emailThe Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has decided to drop its contract with Walt Baker's marketing firm over the hospitality executive's email comparing First Lady Michelle Obama to a chimpanzee.Jokes like chimp e-mail seen as fuel for hidden racism

By Janell RossJoe Feagin at Texas A&M University isn't just guessing. In 2002 and 2003, he culled information from daily diaries kept by nearly 1,000 students at 28 colleges and universities. He asked students to record any "racial events" that occurred.

Of 9,000 stories recorded by 626 white students, about 80 percent included blatantly racist jokes. On average, each white student was involved in two racist joke-telling conversations a week.
Bashing 'them' again

Republican Steve Poizner hopes that waving the bloody shirt of the illegal immigration issue will close the gap on Meg Whitman.

By Peter Schrag
"I'm not in the business of holding kids accountable for the sins of their parents," [Meg Whitman] said. But she's "100% against amnesty, no exceptions." She also would exclude undocumented immigrants from the state's public colleges and universities, "eliminate sanctuary cities," conduct inspections of "suspected businesses" and, if the feds don't tighten immigration controls, send the National Guard to patrol the border.

The real echoes here, however, go back much further than Proposition 187 and 1994. They bring back everything from the California Alien Land Law of 1913 aimed at prohibiting Japanese immigrants from owning property; to a long string of laws designed to keep the Chinese from entering California or to drive them out; and to the widespread American belief of a century ago that immigrants from southern and eastern Europe--Italians, Slavs, Greeks, Turks, Jews--were biologically inferior, more prone to disease, crime, poverty, insanity and feeble-mindedness than the hardy stocks who came before them. Where today's restrictionists say "terrorist," their predecessors said "Mafia."
We could easily find this many examples of racism in the news every week. One common denominator is that most conservatives excuse these incidents as acceptable. Just read the online comments in any conflict and you'll see how they defend the racist status quo.

Inside the conservative "mind"

On Facebook, Michael Cooke posted the following explanation of this conservative rage:When the economy is bad and people are hurting it's especially bad on men that feel they must be ideal breadwinners, and what can be an intense anger they feel towards themselves, they project on the government, any government, thereby absolving themselves of responsibility.

Those that loved the Bush presidency because it helped them feel nationalistically strong and validated in a fundamentalist Christian paradigm, are enraged that the government no longer supports that 'right' way of thought. Rage doesn't engender sound logic. Psychically what had been the communist Soviet Union, it symbolizes to some conservative Christians, Godless secularism and progressive ideals. Ergo an emotional connection between Communist Russia and Barack Obama.
I wrote that I basically agreed with him, but I elaborated:

Yes, men get angry when they can't be "ideal breadwinners." The question is why they're directing their rage against the government rather than the capitalist system. During the Great Depression it was different. People rightly put the blame where it belonged.

You could say they're angry at "godless secularism and progressive ideals." But these things have been happening since the 1960s, if not the 1930s. Why has the Tea Party movement blossomed only now?

The main difference between this recession and the Depression is that we've extended political and economic rights to women and minorities. These people are now competing for jobs, status, and wealth. They're no longer a permanent underclass we can ignore.

Blame government for equal rights

The US government, not private enterprise, has led this change. It was the US government that passed civil-rights laws and imposed school integration. That enforced anti-discrimination laws in employment and housing. Without these things, we'd still have sweatshops and sharecroppers, if not outright slavery.

So the government is finally overturning 200+ years of white rule and promoting the rights of women, minorities, and gays. It's insisting that all people are created equal, as the Founding Fathers intended. This radical liberal idea is a threat to white power and privilege, so conservatives are fighting back.

Why else did they oppose the Civil Rights movement? Or try to impeach Clinton for a sex scandal? Or attack Obama as the anti-Christ? These protests weren't rational or fact-based. Conservatives are scared silly of being overrun by hordes of brown-skins.

The issues change, although extending government help to people is a constant. The response is surprisingly consistent also. In the 1960s conservatives joined the KKK and the John Birch Society. In the 1990s they joined the Moral Majority and the militia movement. Now they're joining Tea Parties.

These things are roughly the same idea, with one exception. Since Bill Clinton wasn't black, conservatives had to demonize him as a degenerate sex and drug fiend. With Obama, they can finally let loose with their deepest racial fears. They can demonize him as a scary black man: a Muslim Kenyan terrorist wannabe.

In short, because many conservatives are fundamentally racist, they're playing the race card. They're doing whatever they can to retain their white power. The Klan, the militias, and the Tea Parties are all symptoms of this.

For more on the subject, see Teabaggers Want Doddering White Guy and The Evidence for Teabagger Racism. For more on the subject in general, see Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, and Christian Patriots.

Below:  An early version of the Tea Party movement.

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