To say that Alan Grayson is cross with the Tea Party would be a gross understatement. The Democrat Congressman from Florida sent an e-mail to his supporters on Monday evening with the image of a burning cross shaped as a letter ‘t’. In case you’re wondering, the ‘t’ stands for Tea Party. Accompanying the image is an interview Grayson did on MSNBC with the Reverend Al Sharpton (a fitting pair if there ever was one) shortly after the end of the partial federal government shutdown. Grayson told Sharpton, “At this point, the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan.”
Sadly, Grayson might not be exaggerating. According to a newly released poll by CBS News, only 14% of Americans have a favorable view of the Tea Party while 36% of Americans view it unfavorably. The Tea Party’s unfavorable rating is up seven points since the beginning of the shutdown. However, there is a silver lining in this poll. Half of all Americans are either undecided about the Tea Party or don’t know what it is in the first place.
So the public perception of the Tea Party can be changed. It is thus incumbent upon conservatives, libertarians, and other fair-minded Americans to defend the Tea Party. Of course, this doesn’t mean the Tea Party is above criticism and exempt from scrutiny. But there is a difference between criticizing the Tea Party for what its adherents actually say and do and crucifying the Tea Party for things it does not believe and acts it has never committed.
All of which brings me back to Congressman Grayson, who doubled down on his statement on Tuesday. Grayson claims, “One could go on and on, because there is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation.”
The KKK, of course, gained notoriety through numerous acts of lynching against black people in the 19th and 20th centuries. I defy Congressman Grayson to name a single act of lynching committed by the Tea Party. Despite Grayson’s claims of “overwhelming evidence” and how “one could go on and on” about the Tea Party’s alleged bigotry, the fact is that no Tea Party activist has ever been arrested for an act of violence against another person at a Tea Party rally or any other public event.
If the Tea Party is the modern day equivalent of the KKK, then why is former Republican Congressman Allen West one of its most beloved figures? Would the KKK have ever invited a black man to speak at one of their rallies?
But the Left is uncontaminated by logic and reason where it concerns the Tea Party (amongst many things). So let’s not hold our breath for President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, officials, or the leading lights of the Left to be cross with Grayson’s use of inflammatory imagery and language against the Tea Party.
Since its founding nearly five years ago, the Tea Party has been the subject of anger and hatred by the Left. The level of anger and hatred against the Tea Party has escalated in the wake of the partial government shutdown, the latest debt ceiling deadline and, of course, the spectacular failure of the Obamacare rollout.
In addition to Grayson, there have been several other public figures that have made their feelings known about the Tea Party or have reaffirmed their existing views:
• Actor Chris Noth (Law & Order, Sex in the City, and The Good Wife) recently called for violence against Tea Party activists via Twitter. Noth tweeted, “Every Tea Party member should be horsewhipped.” He previously characterized the partial government shutdown as “the highest level of racism” on the part of Republicans.
• In an interview with the Daily Beast, director Oliver Stone said, “They want to keep the rules white. That’s how I see the Tea Party.”
• MSNBC’s Chris Matthews recently asked of the Tea Party, “Do they still count blacks as three-fifths of the vote”?
These statements against the Tea Party are vile and have no foundation in fact. But as with other big lies, the more frequently and loudly lies about the Tea Party are told, the more likely they are to be accepted at face value until the lies become truth. These lies sadly represent the view of most adherents of liberal and left-wing thought in this country. The only thing that separates Grayson from everyone else is his use of a disturbing visual image like a burning cross and associating it directly with the Tea Party. I am sure the only thing the Chris Noths, Oliver Stones, and the Chris Matthews of the world regret is that they didn’t associate the burning cross with the Tea Party first.
As someone who has had the opportunity to address several Tea Party rallies here in Massachusetts, I can tell you that the Tea Party is far more diverse (for lack of a better word) than what the Left would have you believe. I have seen Tea Partiers disagree with each other where it concerns American foreign policy, abortion, and gay marriage. Where they agree is on the question of restoring limited government and reversing irresponsible fiscal policy by both Democrats and Republicans. These are questions that affect all Americans and therefore have nothing to with race.
This is how the Tea Party must be defined by Tea Party activists, those sympathetic to its aims, and by fair-minded Americans, and it must be done frequently and vigorously. The Left has defined the Tea Party as a racist organization for nearly five years and there is no reason to believe they are going to stop until they convince the other half of Americans who haven’t made up their minds about the Tea Party that their lies are true.
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