Larry Elder

Did you know that only racists turned out for the recent nationwide "tea parties"?!

"Let's be very honest about what this is about," actress/comedian Janeane Garofalo said on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show. "It's not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about. They don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks."

Oh.

A few days after Garofalo's analysis of why many Americans took to the streets in protest of the Obama administration's borrowing, spending and upcoming tax hikes, I sat in the chair at my barber's shop. A black customer came in, sat down and asked me whether I watched the coverage on the tea parties.

"Some," I said.

"Well," he responded, "it looked like a Klan meeting."

"Excuse me?"

"I looked at my television," he said. "I saw a bunch of white folks. It looked like a Klan meeting."

"Tell me you're kidding."

"No, it was nothing but white people. Looked like a Klan meeting."

"Really? I sometimes go to West Angeles (a large inner-city church with a predominately black congregation). Suppose a white guy walked into a Sunday service there and said, 'Looks like a bunch of Bloods and Crips to me.'"

"That's not the same."

"Isn't it? A bunch of people -- some blacks included -- came together in protest over this bailout stuff. But because most of them were white, you compared it to the Klan. News flash, my friend -- not all white folks belong to the Klan."

"OK, maybe you got a point."

"Maybe?" I asked. "What would you say if white people said that given President Barack Obama's 20-year relationship with his whack-job pastor, Obama is the one who's racist?"

"What? Are you calling Obama racist?"

"No, I said one could make a stronger argument about that than your argument about the 'racist' tea parties."

"But Obama's a really smart guy. He didn't know about those things Rev. Wright said."

"Oh, no? When Obama announced his candidacy for president in Springfield, Ill., Rev. Wright was supposed to deliver the invocation. At the last moment, Obama called Wright and canceled him. But Obama didn't know that his pastor was controversial?"

No response.

"And after the cancellation, Wright said something to the effect of, 'Well, once people find out what I've done, the Jews could cause Obama some problems.'"

"That still doesn't mean Obama knew about the reverend's views."

"Did you read Obama's book? The first one?"

"No."

"Obama wrote about attending the sermon where Wright talks about the 'audacity of hope.' The reverend talked about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cities America bombed to end World War II. My dad, a Marine, was stationed on the island of Guam when we assumed Japan would have to be invaded. Instead, we ended the war by dropping those bombs -- saving probably a million Japanese and American lives. Wright compared this to what happened in South Africa in 1960 in a place called Sharpeville. Do you know about Sharpeville?"

"No."

"Over 250 innocent black men, women and children were killed or wounded when the apartheid government opened fire on unarmed protestors -- a lot of them shot in the back. Now, Obama attended that sermon and had no problem with Wright comparing Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Sharpeville. Outrageous! And Obama used 'The Audacity of Hope' as the title of his second book and as a slogan when he ran for president. You want it both ways. Obama is so bright, but he was clueless about the stupid ideas of his pastor."

"Well, he isn't responsible for what his reverend says or believes."

"Never said he was. We're talking about whether Obama knew that Wright thought 9/11 was about the 'chickens coming home to roost' and that Wright implied that government was behind the drug epidemic by supplying the drugs."

Again, nothing.

"Suppose John McCain attended a church whose pastor -- a man he referred to as his spiritual adviser -- made racist comments about blacks and other people. The press would have been all over it, and McCain wouldn't have gotten his party's nomination. And if it came out too late for that, he would have been slaughtered in the election."

"You know," he conceded, "I guess when you like somebody, you tend to make excuses for them."

"That's what I'm saying. One more point. Nobody, by the way, stopped you, as a black man, from going to one of those tea parties. You didn't have to flash a secret sign. There was no registration fee. Nobody posted guards, stopping people at the gate. You try walking into a Klan meeting."

He laughed. As I got up to leave, we shook hands.

"One small step for man," I told him. "One giant leap for mankind."

"You take care," he said.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.