Friday, September 18, 2009

Here We Go Again: More “Tax Protest” Signs (Part 3)

I had hoped not to have to revisit this particular subject any more. However, I was compelled to do so after reading the post “Clinging to racism” by fellow IN Touch blogger Aaron Hohenbrink. Within minutes after reading his post, I came across yet more signs from the recent tea party protest that seemed to go directly to the issues that Mr. Hohenbrink was discussing. Do I believe that all Republicans or all conservatives are racists? Of course not. Do I believe that some Democrats or liberals are racists? Sure. But, as I’ve discussed in several recent posts, I think that racism does play a part in the visceral hatred and abject fear that is being displayed, whether it be discussion of “death panels”, “birther" nonsense, or even criticism of President Obama speaking to schoolchildren.

I think that these signs from the 9-12 tea party help prove the point (just in case the other signs that I’ve posted left anyone with any doubt):

“Kumbaya my ass” and references to “massa” and “plantation”? Surely nothing racist there.

Beyond “birther” nonsense, take a look at the charming image of President Obama with the “Certificate of Birth” from Kenya. Again, nothing racist in that image, is there?

(Oh, note the sign held by the guy on the left: “Let Free Enterprise Work”. Last time I checked, unregulated free enterprise is what drove the world’s economy to the brink of economic collapse and, if left alone without government intervention, could have left millions of Americans unemployed as another great depression washed over us. But he wants us to “Let Free Enterprise Work”. Does he want the auto industry to fail? Did he want the banks to fail? Did he want millions and millions of Americans to lose their homes? What kind of America does this guy envision?)

Oppressive Bloodsucking Arrogant Muslim Alien. Again, no signs of racism that I can see there.

I’m sure that there are probably even more posters out there, but I’m pretty much exhausted by the effort of displaying them here. The unfortunate situation in which we find ourselves is that, like it or not, a segment of our population is making their decisions on the basis of matters other than logic or reason and, it appears to me, in at least some cases, those decisions are based, instead, on bigotry and racism.

Here’s what I’d like to know. I’m sure that plenty of people who attended the tea party protest aren’t racists, probably the vast majority. Yet how many of them, when they saw some of these overtly racist and truly offensive signs, spoke up and told their fellow protestors that their views were wrong and offensive? If Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh tell these people that Obama is a Marxist they will believe it; if Sarah Palin tells them that the healthcare reform proposal includes death panels, they will believe her. But I haven’t heard Beck, Limbaugh, or Palin (or any of the other right-wing commentators) tell their followers that the bigoted and racist conduct is wrong. Of course, given that Glenn Beck himself thinks that President Obama is a racist, what should we expect?

Most conservatives and Republicans likely have good faith objections to President Obama’s policies and those objections deserve open, honest, and most of all civil discussion. But right now the noise that is coming from the right, whether the far right or the fringe or whatever, is dominating the “discussion” (more like drowning out discussion) and that noise includes overt racism, bigotry, and lies. And, as I’ve said repeatedly, that is not healthy for our democracy.

As a final “thought” on the subject (I hope…), here is a video of interviews from the 9-12 tea party:


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