Mar 8, 2014
The Tea Party: It’s Worse Than You Think
Posted on Oct 7, 2010
So, what does this have to do with the tea party movement? One of the main thrusts of tea party groups across the country is to teach their “patriots” the truth about the Constitution of the United States. At this particular meet-up of the “South Orange County 912 - Tea Party Group” at the church, they were advertising No. 3 of 12 of the “Institute on the Constitution.”
This is the program written by John Eidsmoe, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, author and attorney. I got this far with just one click. The next click took me to a biography of Eidsmoe posted on the website citizensforaconstitutionalrepublic.com. It should be noted that an invitation to Eidsmoe to speak at a tea party rally in Wasau, Wis., was rescinded in April of this year. The invitation was withdrawn when it was revealed that Eidsmoe was known to teach that God ordained slavery and that the author had spoken before a variety of white supremacists groups (other than tea party groups, that is), such as the successor organization to the White Citizens’ Councils (now the Council of Conservative Citizens) and The League of the South.
So the tea party claims to be cleansed of racism because it withdrew the invitation. But it is not that the party didn’t know his views. Party followers invited him to teach and speak at the rally. He was disinvited because Eidsmoe’s proposed appearance exposed the racism at the core of the movement. Interestingly, the other tea party groups didn’t get the word because the curriculum written by Eidsmoe is being taught right now, right up the road in that old hotbed of the John Birch Society, Orange County. So if he was considered racist by tea party groups in April, why isn’t he still racist in October? He is, and they were and are.
My next click was on a button down the side of the page that said, “I Want My Country Back.” Alas, I thought, now I will get some understanding of what they mean when they say that. This is what took me to the link of Justice Ellett’s dissertation on “The Non-Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
After receiving so much leadership, education and inspiration from these leaders and “scholars,” the tea party movement cannot conveniently disavow the racism that is part and parcel of everything that motivates such leaders (and countless others lesser known). The philosophy regarding the Constitution essentially permeates the tea party movement. This element cannot be uninvited, disowned or dismissed. This constitutional philosophy has produced a code language that connects phrases such as “Citizen” (uppercase C), “Founding Fathers,” “Patriot” and “Constitutional Republic.” On their face they are fine, even noble, ideas. But underneath, when one connects the dots from the originally white “We the People” to a never-say-die Confederate mentality to a rabid tea party opposition to the first black president of the United States, there is no doubt that the tea party movement is racist at its core.
Finally, Patricia Williams said it best in a Guardian article in September when she reminded us of the unguarded words of Lee Atwater, former chair of the Republican Party, who explained the strategy of abstraction this way, “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced bussing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. … ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the bussing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger’.”
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