While the tea party movement may be brushed off by some as the work of a bunch of misguided Fox News enthusiasts, the opening speech at the first national Tea Party Convention in Nashville suggests something more sinister at the root.

Former Congressman Tom Tancredo’s opening remarks included attacks on the “cult of multiculturalism” and immigrants, and the argument that President Barack Obama was elected because the U.S. no longer requires civics and literary tests before granting the right to vote — a gross throwback to the early 20th century segregationist policies of the South. –JCL

The Guardian:

America’s disparate army of angry ­conservatives assembled under one roof yesterday at the first national tea party convention in Nashville, amid controversy over an opening speech which preached bigotry bordering on racism.

Up to 600 delegates from all over the US descended on the cavernous Gaylord hotel to plot a strategy on how to take back the country from the perceived threat of the Obama administration. Sporting a shirt made from the Stars and Stripes, Tim Peak from Arizona said he had travelled so far because it was “time for the silent majority to stand up and start speaking”.

But amid talk about fiscal conservatism and the “subversive threat” of the green movement, there was also a strong undercurrent of a cultural bigotry which previously had been kept to the margins of the tea party phenomenon.

Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman from Denver in Colorado who ran for president in 2008, devoted most of his opening speech on Thursday night to illegal immigration. He said the fabric of US society had been eroded by the “cult of multiculturalism”, “Islamification”, and large numbers of immigrants who did not want to be Americans.

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