August 7, 2010
Tea Partiers: Do You Still Beat Your Wife?By Mike Landry
Here's The Narrative of the leftist establishment: Tea Partiers oppose Barack Obama because he is black. Also, they embrace white supremacy, they use racial epithets, and they hoist signs dripping with the vilest racial hate.
That's The Narrative promoted by the mainstream media, by the NAACP, and by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Narrative paints the Tea Party as racist. But the leftist establishment is careful not to directly come out and say such harsh things - the falsity is just too obvious. They just want to nudge The Narrative along.
In so many words leftists soothingly say, "Well, Tea Partiers are not racist, but they have racist elements within them and they need to address that." Clever. There's deniability ("We didn't actually say the Tea Party is racist") and there's the call to do the impossible: keep every nut, weirdo or covert leftist from identifying somehow with the Tea Party. It's the old "Do you still beat your wife?" gambit.
In a loosely allied grassroots movement composed of millions, everyone knows some crazies will surface, that there will be things that are inappropriate, and words that make all decent people cringe. Are Tea Partiers able to control all such nonsense? No way, although there was quick response by the Federation of Tea Parties to eject Mark Williams for racist satire he wrote.
But big leftists really don't care about Tea Partiers cleaning up the fringes. Rather, they use propaganda techniques to sell the public on The Narrative. Because the Tea Parties represent what the left cannot stand: dissent.
Note what CNN sometimes does when they claim racism on the part of Tea Partiers: CNN's audio speaks of racism, while the video portion shows Tea Partiers holding signs critical of Barack Obama. What they're in effect doing is making a connection: criticism of President Obama is racist. Television's propaganda effect is powerful and this production technique drills home the idea that dissent is wrong, especially against our historic first black president. And that's what this besmirching of the Tea Party is all about: an attempt to crush dissent. But what about reports of those awful signs?
I recently Googled "Tea Party signs." I went through several pages and found one sign that would be what I consider to be marginally racist. It said "Obama's Plan: White Slavery." Later, I visited the NAACP web site.
It showed that same sign along with three others into which some could read racist intent.
Also, there was one sign in really bad taste: "The American Tax Payers Are the Jews for Obama's Ovens." And there was one sign - one - that used a vile racial epithet. And although the guy holding the sign couldn't even correctly spell the word, his sign was not a reference to the President, but to how Congress was treating the American people.
I have no intention to mitigate any evil or wrongheadedness or poor judgment or perhaps just plain ignorance on the part of people depicted on the NAACP web site. However, given the power of Google and the resources of the leftist establishment, why do we not see Tea Party signs personally attacking President Obama on the blatantly racist grounds that The Narrative claims are always out there? You know the reason why.
For the same reason there's been an inability for anyone to claim a $100,000 reward for recorded evidence of Tea Party racial taunts against Reps. Andre Carson, John Lewis, and Emanuel Cleaver. This was supposed to have occurred in a public event with presumably all kinds of recorded devices present. There's no evidence it happened, but The Narrative regularly repeats it as fact.
Back to the NAACP page. It contains one more sign: a portrayal of Obama as Hitler. Again, The Narrative: on a page alleging Tea Party racism is a picture which, in effect, satirizes the President. To be sure, "satire" is too mild a word for the depiction. It is a serious charge. Some would say it is an accusation that is over the top. I hope it is, but honestly some days I'm not so sure. But the sign has nothing to do with race. Any more than representations of the President as Stalin or the Joker do. But it is a picture of dissent, and, again, that's what the attack on the Tea Party is about.
When Tea Partiers first gained presence on the national stage, leftists sniffed and smirked at what they saw as uneducated lowlifes. But they discovered that Tea Partiers tended to be higher than average in education and income, so the criticism switched to Tea Partiers being self-centered people who want to preserve their privilege. Then there were allegations that Tea Partiers were really about violence. Right.
Have you seen these people? It's hard to keep a straight face and consider the image of old ladies as potential threats to menacing riot police. Accusations failed to stop the growth and influence of the Tea Party, so leftists were required to resort to the one tactic they can always rely on when things go badly for them: pull the pin on the racism grenade and throw it into the crowd.
When the smoke cleared, some Tea Partiers were taken aback. As novices to the steely world of politics, they felt personally hurt. They didn't realize this pain is part of their strength, that it is the essential uprightness of the Tea Partiers and their cause that is underscored when its people take to heart accusations that attempt to describe them as having evil motives. Would white supremacists get their feelings hurt when called racist? Not likely.
The racism grenade is part of the arsenal. Given the charge of racism, we in the Tea Party should not go on the defense. Resolve issues, a la Mark Williams, point out the public infiltrators attempting to draw cameras to themselves, but don't play into the hands of the opposition by being defensive or demoralized. Recognize that we often are not dealing with people of honor, but rather with those who use innuendo, lies, and intimidation.
Note their accusations, watch their sleights of hand. Continue your defense of Constitution and country, but don't worry too much about defending yourselves. In spite of current cynical efforts to divide us, by God's grace Americans of all races and identities will remember that we are One People. And we and the truth will prevail.
Mike Landry is a university business professor actively involved with Arkansas' Washington County Tea Party, and he blogs the Wildcat Creek Review.