Racism, Hate and The Tea Party

It’s not because I am a democrat or hold progressive views, that I believe the Tea Party is racist, hateful or hints at fascism or even Nazism.  The fact is, the Tea Party, on it’s own, has exhibited these traits at events, rallies, protest and speeches. The sad and scary thing is, the average American, who supports the Tea Party, can’t or refuses to see the dangerous path they are being led down.  They fail to acknowledge the ignorant statements and illogical facts that Tea Party candidates espouse.  The Tea Partiers I know actually believe the rhetoric.

It’s not surprising that the Tea Party came into existence at the beginning of the Obama administration.  While some Tea Party members may have jumped on board because of the anger at the TARP, Troubled Asset Relief Program which  was signed into law by George W. Bush on October 3, 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009  was signed into law on February 17 by President Obama, others saw the Tea Party as an opportunity to exhibit and spread their hate, racism and general ignorance of how the country and the world work.

In a recent article on Truthdig The Tea Party: It’s Worse Than You Think, by Rev. Madison Shockley, explores this very question of racism and hate.

  • I propose to put this debate to rest. The tea party is racist. Its followers have deployed a brilliant strategy to deflect charges of racism by using a form of the legislative provision known as severability. Whenever a tea party group or person is “caught” with a racist sign, or saying explicitly racist comments, they simply “sever” that person from the movement by saying, “That person does not represent the tea party.” They get away with it because they claim the status of a “movement” with no structure, leadership or cohesive identity except allegiance to the three magic phrases: “Constitutional Republic,” “Founding Fathers” and “I want my country back!”
  • I submit that their defense, while clever, is inadequate. Racism virtually drips from their lips when they spew out their ridicule of President Obama. It lies just underneath the surface of all the signs imaging him as a native African, a Muslim or an animal. But, one might note, they never called Obama by a racial slur. They have never said they don’t like him because he is black. Well, they don’t have to say it—he is black. And to say, “I don’t like [black] Obama because he is black” would be redundant.
  • Through his research Rev. Madison Shockley came across an interesting email…..

  • I stumbled across my evidence through an e-mail alert I received for tea party “meet-ups” near where I live. When I noticed a tea party meet-up in south Orange County [Calif.] being held at a church, I couldn’t resist taking a closer look. Five clicks later I was enthralled by a document that I found both horrifying and revealing. The document was titled “The Non-Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment” and written by A.H. Ellett, a retired Utah Supreme Court justice. Ironically, the tea party movement generally “supports with worshipful intensity the constitution of the United States,” according to historian Mark Lilla, but when its followers say “Constitution” they don’t mean the same U.S. Constitution that you and I mean. The recent issue for the tea party has been the repeal of the 14th Amendment. But repeal is just one small step compared to the giant leap that Justice Ellett makes in claiming that the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments (the so-called Reconstruction Amendments) were never legally (i.e. constitutionally) ratified in the first place. When the tea party folk say that they want their country back, I’m starting to understand just how far back they want it—back before the Civil War!

Holy crap….do you think that the average Tea Party supporter realizes what they have wrapped themselves up in? I doubt it! For the most part many if not all get their propaganda from Fox infomercials, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party candidates themselves.  Palin, who is the public face of the Tea Party and, as we all know, is not the brightest color in the crayon box. In the past, Palin has exhibited racist remarks and accepted violent and excited utterances from her audience.

And, as for the leader of the Tea Party, Glen Beck, that’s right, Glen Beck the right wing stellar example of ignorance is the leader of the Tea Party. Need I say more.

Neo Nazi’s and Nazi pride groups have found a home in the Tea Party. According to the ADL, in “July white supremacists and anti-Semites are planning to exploit Tea Parties to disseminate their hateful views and recruit a larger  following.” Stormfront, is a white supremacist and anti-Semitic group. “Whites Forward”, who created the Tea Party Americans Coalition (TPAC) and other Neo Nazi groups have infiltrated the Tea Party. The connection between the Tea Party and their candidates with the Neo-Nazi and White supremacist groups is obvious, with their choice of  Nazi terminology, propaganda and provocative posters and depictions of Obama.

Rich Iott, second from right, in a Nazi SS Waffen uniform.

A recent article in the Atlantic  Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi? points out that Ohio Tea Party candidate Richard Iott belongs to the Nazi re-enactment group 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking.

Now, I realize many Americans belong to re-enactment groups, however, I find the level historical ignorance in Iott statements to justify his membership stunning.

  • Iott, a member of the Ohio Military Reserve, added, “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.”
  • Iott says the group chose the Wiking division in part because it fought on the Eastern Front, mainly against the Russian Army, and not U.S. or British soldiers. The group’s website includes a lengthy history of the Wiking unit, a recruitment video, and footage of goose-stepping German soldiers marching in the Warsaw victory parade after Poland fell in 1939. The website makes scant mention of the atrocities committed by the Waffen SS, and includes only a glancing reference to the “twisted” nature of Nazism. Instead, it emphasizes how the Wiking unit fought Bolshevist  Communism.

According to the Atlantic article Historians of Nazi Germany vehemently dispute this characterization. “These guys don’t know their history,” said Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., a retired history professor and author of “Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death’s Head Division, 1933-45,” which chronicles an SS division. “They have a sanitized, romanticized view of what occurred.” Sydnor added that re-enactments like the Wiking group’s are illegal in Germany and Austria. “If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you’d be arrested.”

Rand Paul another Tea Party candidate have proven ties with white supremacist groups

  • At first glance, Paul’s spokesperson is right. In the second quarter of this year, the Paul campaign reported contributions of $1.1 million. The disputed $1,200 from white supremacists is a bare drop in the campaign money bucket. But the money that he received from the white separatists may be the tip of Paul’s racist funding iceberg. The assorted neo-Nazi, KKK, and Aryan nation groups have thousands of members and can funnel considerable funds to a cause or a candidate. It’s no stretch to think that Paul is the candidate that they feel most comfortable giving too.
  • Dozens of fringe groups have endorsed Paul and are actively working for his election and they read like a who’s who of militant far right anti-government groups. The groups are linked directly and indirectly through the unofficial Paul related Take Back Kentucky website. All are, and have been, potentially lucrative fundraising channels for the Paul campaign.
  • Paul’s coy refusal to give back the contributions from white supremacists, though, is much more than just the act of a principled libertarian candidate that believes that even bigots have a right to contribute to campaigns. Paul is an ultra-conservative, Tea Party backed politician who at times has been at odds with GOP mainstream leaders who at least publicly squirm at some of Paul’s far out views on civil rights, social security, and government, not to mention his white supremacist ties. But Paul sniffs victory in Kentucky and he’ll need to appeal to and keep his grassroots Tea Party leaning backers fired up on Election Day to win.
  • While Tea Party leaders loudly protest that neither their movement, nor they are racists, a sizeable number of Tea Party adherents are bigots. And given the loose, disjointed structure of the movement, and the near impossibility of purging racists overt from the various Tea Party factions, Paul cannot afford to do and say anything that will alienate any of the factions. He needs them to win.

It can’t be denied that the Tea Party supports and endorses hate groups.

Ignorance is dangerous…..

Every time I see a Tea Party member holding a sign calling Obama a Fascist, I shake my head and mumble ‘ignorant’ . Their lack of historic accuracy, meaning of words they use, is a testament to America’s poor education system. Their lack of  research and understanding about what they are standing for is a symptom of history repeating itself. If they bothered to look up Fascism they would be surprised to see it’s the right wing. Scholars generally consider fascism to be on the far right of the conventional left-right political spectrum.

Sinclair Lewis wrote “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Interesting how the religious flag waving right is the very image Sinclair Lewis uses.  If only Tea Partiers looked up the meaning of fascist.

Religion and flag waving permeating the Tea Party is scary. The lines have blurred for the right when they decide that religion is country and country is religion. For the Tea Party it is all one entity. The level of participation by the Tea Party with racism, Nazi and supremacist hate group ignorance tied in to religion is laid out in TPJ Magazine article, by Loren Adams,  THE CROSS, THE FLAG, AND AMERICAN IDOLATRY How Symbolism Is Today’s National Idolatry. Adams also points out Sinclair Lewis comments on the subject.

  • Yes, there are parallels between Nazi Germany and 21st Century right-wing America which is currently on recess but determined more than ever to recapture the government after managing to destroy the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats. Let no one successfully persuade otherwise: Fascism was never a left-wing movement, only a right, and America’s right-wing is again on the march – using white evangelicals (seduced by symbols and “Christian” idolatry) to do its bidding – advocating and condoning violence, preaching the gospel of the “free market” (corporatism/fascism), and promoting militaristic monarchial/theocratic rule.
  • Giant crosses are erected adjacent Interstates across America, supposedly to lead lost souls to Jesus Christ, but on the other hand, are testament to modern American “Christian” idolatry. In front of America’s megachurches, giant U.S. flags flap in the wind, supposedly as an indication of devotion to the country, but on the other hand, are testament to modern American “Christian” idolatry. The symbols mean more than mandates Christ issued to the Church: caring for the needy, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick.
  • The Bible, also, has become an idolatrous image to many. The phrase is often heard from fundamentalist pulpits and broadcasts, “The King James Version of the Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God.” Then they add, “The King James was good enough for Paul and Silas, so it’s good enough for me,” without considering the King James Version wasn’t commissioned by the King of England until 1,600 years after Paul and Silas were dead. The disease of ignorance is as contagious as swine flu.

While the Tea Party may have started out as a group who was protesting spending, they have been swept up by hate, racism and the Neo Nazism, through their own ignorance.

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