How long has this been goin’ on?
How long has this been goin’ on?
Well your friends with their fancy persuasion
Don’t admit that it’s part of the scheme.But I can’t help but have my suspicion,
‘Cause I ain’t quite as dumb as I seem.
—Ace, How Long
Congressional Black Caucus Whip Andre Carson, referring to the “Tea Party” told a group in Miami last week:
“The Tea Party is stopping that change . . . This is the effort that we’re seeing of Jim Crow. Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us [black people] as second-class citizens . . . Some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me . . . hanging on a tree.”
This is a consistent message now being trumpeted across the country by the Left and particularly members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and it’s obvious it’s going to be the centerpiece of their 2012 campaign: the Tea Party is a bunch of racists at war with and out to lynch black people. And we can all go straight to hell for it.
Racism. Jim Crow. Lynching. War. You, American Citizen, can go to hell. From Congressmen. Where, oh, where, is the Annointed One, the Great Uniter, the Post-Racial President who has repeatedly called for toning down overheated rhetoric? Maybe this is on his “to-do” list if and when he ever gets off the damn golf course.
While we wait for President Obama, let’s clear up a couple of things, because Representative Carson and his Black Caucus colleagues are exposing a startling level of ignorance. First, there is no “Tea Party” as such. It isn’t an entity, and it has no organization, structure, or official leadership. The “Tea Party” is a philosophy or world view that in the last couple of years has manifested itself in a true grass roots movement as people of like persuasion have become fed up with the way business is done in the District.
And what, exactly, is that philosophy or world view, you ask?
It’s quite simple, really. What the people who make up the Tea Party movement are about is restoring liberty—for everyone—by reducing the size and influence of the federal government, and reducing taxes and spending. That’s it. Indeed, the moniker “Tea Party” had its origins as “T.E.A.” Party, meaning Taxed Enough Already. The idea is that we all—again, that’s everyone, including black people—prosper when government gets out of the way and allows us the freedom to apply our individual efforts and talents to take responsibility for ourselves and to provide for ourselves. When Tea Party advocates speak of “restoring” the government to its constitutional moorings, we're not expressing a wistful longing for the glory days of 1950s segregation or 1850s slavery (and lest I be misconstrued and called a racist yet again, I use the phrase “glory days” as a sarcastic caricature of what we’re accused of); we're referring solely to returning government to the size and scope it was originally intended. It has absolutely nothing to do with race, and it isn’t in any way aimed at black people except insofar as they are included in the “all of us” who would benefit from smaller government and greater liberty.
Let me repeat: what Tea Party folks want is to reduce the size of government and let people keep more of what they earn so they can better take responsibility for themselves.
Second, by so lightly throwing the term “Jim Crow” at the Tea Party movement, 36 year old Representative Carson demonstrates that he’s not old enough to have any idea of what Jim Crow actually was. “Jim Crow” referred to the separate-but-equal policy of segregation in the South following Reconstruction. This policy was enforced through things like discriminatory voting restrictions and laws maintaining separate school systems and public facilities (John Lewis was at least using the term in its correct context, even if he was wrong in its application). These things were outlawed by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education and by Congress in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I’m not so naïve to think that there is isn’t still racism around, but Jim Crow simply doesn’t exist, and it hasn’t since long before Representative Carson was born.
But more importantly, Jim Crow has nothing to do with what the Tea Party movement is about. Advocating for smaller government and lower taxes is not a call for segregation; there is simply no connection between the two. It’s a non sequitur. And by attempting to make that connection where it doesn’t exist, Carson and others trivialize the work and achievement of those who fought the real civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s, and mock the suffering of those who—unlike Carson—actually did bear the heinous brunt of Jim Crow.
I understand you may disagree from a policy standpoint, but trying to reduce government spending and debt is the same thing as lynching? Really?
Listen to what so-called black leaders like Andre Carson, Cedric Richmond, and Maxine Waters are saying: the Tea Party movement is inherently racist. Well, for that to be so, it must be that the idea the Tea Party movement advocates—reducing government so people can take responsibility for themselves—is in itself inherently racist. And if that idea is inherently racist, what they’re really telling you is that black people are incapable of taking responsibility for and providing for themselves. They can’t make their own decisions. They need government to provide for them and to make decisions for them as though they are a bunch of children.
Who’s the racist now?
The only ones who benefit by selling black people short and keeping them addicted to the public teat are these very leaders who lead the life of Riley in the District while spewing this victim mentality nonsense. As long as the black community continues to listen to the Carsons and Richmonds and Waters of the world, all they’ve done is trade the master’s chains and plantation rations for those of their black overseer.
Mindlessly throwing around accusations of racism against a nameless, faceless group is the act of a coward. Mr. Carson, I double-dog dare you to go to the House floor and name names. Call them out to their face. If members of Congress really are racists who want to lynch blacks, then tell us who.