Ten days ago, Colbert King of the Washington Post wrote an incendiary op-ed about the Tea Party movement. Entitled “In the faces of Tea Party shouters, images of hate and history,” the piece was incredibly skewed. The article’s condescending tone called the protesters “racists.”
Mr. King equated the people that rallied in DC (just before the healthcare vote) with the folks who wanted to block the first black student from entering the University of Alabama in 1956. Further, he suggested that those who blocked 9 black kids from entering a Little Rock, Arkansas High School in 1959 resembled Tea Party members. Most shockingly, he compared the faces he witnessed years nearly 20 years ago at a David Duke rally in Metairie, LA with the party faithful. He went on to describe the folks at the Duke rally as “ sullen with resentment, wallowing in victim-hood, then exploding with yells of excitement as the ex-Klansman and Republican gubernatorial candidate spewed vitriolic white-power rhetoric.”
King ended his op-ed by blaming Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity for the out-of-control behavior of Tea Party members. In fact he declared that the cultural conditioning of entitlement is what is passed on to these people by these thought leaders. Listeners are encouraged, according to King, to do “whatever they want, and to whomever they want” because they are the “real Americans.”
The question I would like to pose to the Tea Party is this, “Now that you know how you are perceived, what are you going to do”?
Time and time again during the last two years, the critics of the Obama administration have been tagged “racist.” This labeling has always been initiated by liberal media or high-level Democratic Party elite. The first victims of this kind of labeling were the critics of Jeremiah Wright. Despite his consistent anti-American rhetoric, the nation was told that they just did not understand the black church. On the wings of these accusations concerning Rev. Wright, candidate Obama gave an historic speech about race and the need for a national dialogue.
The next victim of malicious accusations of racism was Hillary Clinton. Most of us remember the “fairy tale” comments made by Bill Clinton. Ironically, just 16 years earlier Clinton had been hailed as “the first black president.” The accusation of racism is so damaging to a person that it became the final blow that felled the giant Clinton political machine. Further, in early October of 2008 Senator John McCain’s reference to candidate Obama as “that one” made him the recipient of the “racist” label as well.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.