Was struck by this letter in The State this morning:
Francee Levin (“State right to fly USC flag,” Monday), the NAACP and others who mischaracterize the Tea Party movement need to stop listening to the liberal media and maybe attend a Tea Party rally for themselves. I’ve attended several at the State House, and the group includes people from all ethnic groups and walks of life who cannot sit by and witness the destruction of our great country by the present administration.
The movement is made up of millions of everyday Americans who love their country and want to see it restored to what the Founding Fathers created, and never have been documented to have said or done anything racist or violent.
Violent? No, thank goodness. Not yet, anyway. But racist? Depends on what you mean.
When I was at the Tea Party rally where I shot the video of Sheri Few tearing into that “socialist” Anton Gunn, she went on a long tale about how far back to the foundation of the country her kinfolk go, and it was so much like a my-family-came-over-on-the-Mayflower speech, only with an anti-government political flavor, that it both bored me and made me feel a tad uncomfortable. You know, like “I’m a REAL American, and have the pedigree to prove it.” I’ll see if I caught any of that on video… And at that same rally there was also some vituperation toward illegal immigrants — which many of you will hasten to explain was because they’re illegal, not because they are brown people who speak Spanish.
So no — I haven’t heard anything from Tea Party speakers that sounded like anything like what Ben Tillman might have said in advocating lynching. So pat yourselves on the backs there, if you’re so inclined. But I’ve heard plenty of stuff along the lines of what nativists say when they have their party manners on.
And then there was this report that I saw today:
A day after leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, met to pass a resolution that condemns the Tea Party, a grass-roots anti-tax political movement, for tolerating racism among its members, CNN contributor Roland Martin invited a Tea Party Express spokesman onto The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer. Mark Williams, “asked to tell racists ‘you’re not welcome’ in the tea party,” the Huffington Post reported, “replied ‘Racists have their own movement. It’s called the NAACP.'” On the show, which aired Wednesday night, Williams accused Martin of driving racist people to Tea Party events by talking about the issue consistently on the air, by convincing them that Tea Party events are where they will “find a happy home.” “You’re not going to lie on CNN. I never said that,” Martin responded. “I have said consistently, the Tea Party people have an absolute right to assemble, to protest. But what I have said, there is no room in that movement for racists. And what I’ve said is, you should come out and say you’re not welcome here.” That’s when Williams broke in to call the NAACP a racist organization, adding that members are “a bunch of old fossils looking to make a buck off skin color.” “That’s nonsense,” Martin responded before Blitzer broke in to end the heated debate. The Huffington Post has video of the exchange on its Web site.
Make of that what you will.