There’s a saying: “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” I’ve been watching the Tea Party for a while, and listening to their spokespeople. All of them will tell you that the movement is “misunderstood,” that they’re not racist, isolationist, or bigoted against any particular group. They’re just deeply concerned about the deficit, taxes, and various social issues. Which would be fine, except that when I look at their rallies, read their literature and the comments on their blogs, I keep hearing this quacking sound. I see a bird with webbed feet, a flat bill, that swims and quacks. Despite their saying it’s really a swan, somehow, it I still keep coming back to “it’s a duck.”
Last year, there was a study done which showed some interesting results:
“The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability”—25 percent, to be exact—”of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters,” says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. “The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race.”
The NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center also noticed that there were a lot of white supremacist groups latching on to the Tea Party movement. Which was attacked by the various Tea Party representatives, except that one of them went and made the point. Which, again, there were excuses made:
To judge by a “satirical” letter he wrote in reaction to the NAACP, Mr Williams, a tea-party activist, is indeed a racist, and for that reason the National Tea Party Federation, an umbrella group, has expelled both him and a group with which he is associated, the Tea Party Express.
Hmm… where have I heard of that group? Oh, right, the Tea Party Express was the organization that Michele Bachmann gave her State of the Union “response” to. I knew the name sounded familiar! A quick look through various magazines, conventions, and other statements would lead one to an impression that intolerance is rather a staple. There’s also the birthers, and yes, they also have a strong association with the Tea Parties. Unless you’re a white evangelical Christian, you’re apparently not a “Real American.”
I’ve been listening to the various leaders of these groups, and politicians associated with them, express outrage at being called racist or bigoted. They keep insisting that the Tea Party movement isn’t about that. They themselves may well not be bigoted. They may believe that the Tea Party movement is not about race or intolerance. The problem is that whatever they think, there’s still an awful lot of it appearing. So yes, you can tell me all you want about how it’s not a duck. I’d listen, except all the quacking is really distracting.