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Thursday, April 16, 2009

The American Party--what those tea parties are really about

If you saw the Fox televised tea parties then you could not help but see the similarities to the Republican National Convention. An obvious lack of white people. Anthems to the patriotism of true blue Americans. Country singers belting out songs of good old days when America was great and not multicultural. Testimonials of brave acts like the man in Texas who killed two intruders with his .357. Attendance and speeches given by far right pundits, Glen Beck and the like. Chants of American populism, variations on "drill baby drill." Full time coverage by Fox news. Lots of people in Cowboy hats and boots.

There are also people who are honestly upset with the bailouts. This should have been their day to express outrage over bonuses and banks that still will not lend money. But the tea parties have been hijacked. The ugly side of the republican coalition has come out of the closet since the implosion of the party. There were signs showing Obama with a Hitlerian mustache. There were signs about hanging the top members of the Democratic party including the President. There were signs depicting the President as a Muslim terrorist and as a communist. There were Nazi swastikas. There were signs calling for revolution. In the rally in front of the Alamo there was talk of secession amplified by the governors call for "separation" from the United States. Fox ran the show and didn't bother with the RNC chairman. Rush Limbaugh was the unofficial leader of the party.

So what are we to take away from all of this? What does the far right want now? The answer is they want nothing short of turning back the clock on the election. Barack Obama did not become the first African American President. In the culture of these right wing tea parties he is enemy number one. The far right would like to believe there was not a referendum on the way the country was being run and the Democrats didn't take over the House and Senate. The country didn't vote for change. They want to believe the election was some horrible mistake engineered by far left operatives. They want to ignore that America changed.

Times are hard. Study history. People look for someone to blame. President Barack Obama did not create the mess we are in. But he is a convenient target. But the right seems to want their agenda to become a permanent part of American culture and they don't care how they do it. Remember the crazy rallies of McCain/Pahlin in the closing days of the election. Remember the calls to kill Barack Obama. Stay up and watch that tea party in Texas. Watch the people and the calls by the pundits to do something...anything.

These are scary times. Let's take a deep breath and a step back from the edge. You have to be Republican or Democrat, left or right, the pundits tell us, but maybe, maybe there is a middle. I don't know, let's call it... the American party.

Books by William Hazelgrove