Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Calling the Tea Kettle White

Just the other day, a black co-worker (and good friend) examined one of my Tea Party buttons. We’re really not supposed to wear politically-oriented objects at work. But this was one of the less objectionable buttons, illustrating a Colonial soldier waving a white flag.

“What if I had done this?”

I suffered her to examine it and she stood back again unsmiling but didn’t say anything. Since we’re not allowed to discuss politics at work, it was hard to explain to her that my Tea Party activities had nothing to do with race. Nor would she have believed me, I’m sure, if I told her my objections to Barack Obama were strictly political.

Since 94 percent of black people voted for him, how could black people be convinced that there are many objections to his administration other than the color of his skin, since that’s apparently why so many of them unquestionably voted for him?

The NAACP (National Association for the Advance of Colored Persons) is considering a condemnation of the Tea Parties on the grounds of racism. These charges have already intimidated earlier tea party rally organizers from allowing any signs that criticize the president.

Right there, we have a problem. It is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their skin color. His skin notwithstanding, however, Obama is now a public figure and must be willing to endure the slings and arrows of misfortune, no matter how outraged his followers. It’s one (illegal) thing to refuse to hire someone because they’re black. It’s another thing to criminalize anyone who criticizes a black (or any other color) president because he’s directing the country in a direction antithetical to freedom and liberty.

To deny a citizen’s right to criticize a public elected official because of their skin color is to sow the seeds of tyranny. How is any critic to defend themselves against a charge of racism when it’s obvious that the president’s skin is black? Anyone can (and has) shown up to a public tea party rally displaying a racially derogatory sign, including tea party opponents, and instantly negate legitimate criticism.

The result was a discouragement of the signs that served as the voice of the people at the rallies. How very convenient for the tea party opponents. Now they can declare war on the tea parties who seek to affirm their rights as Americans, not engage in a race war. The socialists are the same Islamic apologists who deny that Muslim terrorists, led by Osama Bin Laden, have declared war on a heretical world, despite the concrete evidence to the contrary.

The NAACP declares that the majority of Tea Partiers are white (which they admittedly are – they’re also well educated and fairly affluent). An overwhelming majority of blacks voted for Obama, whom the Tea Parties regard as a socialist, if not an outright communist. What then? Has the chasm of racism really widened when we thought we’d gained much ground, or has politics driven a wedge between two races of people that were at least trying to make a go of it?

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in extreme, abstract terms of love and hate between the races. He also helped abolish the laws that prevented blacks from getting a good education and gaining meaningful employment. His concrete objectives turned out to be more useful to all of us than his dreams. Idealistic notions of love and hate only made those who hate on both sides just dig their heels in more deeply. That beatnik who cried out at Clinton’s Town Hall Meeting, “Can’t we all just get along?” probably had the more pragmatic notion. You know – you don’t have t to “like” each other – just leave each other alone. It doesn’t seem too much to ask.

They’ve put a black president into office whose staggeringly socialist agenda is anathema to freedom-loving Americans, at least freedom-loving conservative, white Americans. What did they expect? The charge of racism is hard to judge. Let the NAACP nominate a conservative, Republican black candidate for president of the United States. Then we’ll see whether white America is truly racist or not. It could be they are, that they’d vote as overwhelmingly for some other white candidate as the blacks voted for Obama.

Or it could be they’d welcome him (or her) with thundering applause, even more than if one of their “own kind” had been elected to the office. The question is: would the blacks do the same? If both races are truly equal, then they’re susceptible to the same flaws. No matter their color, our feet are all made of clay.

One day, King’s dream of a color-blind world may be realized. We’re working on it. Realizing the same dream of a free world is proving to be a nightmare, though. Until then, it’s politics, not racism, as usual.

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