In 2000, the NAACP ran scurrilous, highly inflammatory radio and television ads against George W. Bush, suggesting that he tolerated the horribly brutal lynching of James Byrd in Texas. The rationale, if you can call it that, was that Bush declined to sign a hate crimes bill. But a) Texas already had a hate crimes bill; and b) of the three perpetrators, two were sentenced to death, and one to life imprisonment on Bush's watch.
Now come the tea parties -- overwhelmingly peaceful, orderly, and spontaneous demonstrations against overweening government, the Obama health care bill, accumulating debt, and federal bailouts. Though tens of thousands of Americans have rallied and marched, there has been almost no violence or vandalism. Of thousands upon thousands of signs and banners, a tiny handful have been offensive, and an even smaller percentage of those -- maybe one or two of those I've seen on the Web -- have been arguably racist.
So what is the NAACP talking about? Many of the signs mentioned as racist refer to Barack Obama as a Nazi. While it is no more acceptable to fling the accusation of Nazism at Obama than it was to use it against Bush (which was commonplace), how exactly does it amount to racism?
Worse, the resolution (the text of which has not, as of this writing, been released by the NAACP) reportedly cites the bogus name-calling alleged by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
This charade has been amply exposed by bloggers (see for example Powerlineblog.com). Alas for the congressmen who claimed that the tea party crowd shouted racial epithets at them, a number of videos from different angles have captured the events of that evening. None of them recorded the "n" word or anything similar. All of the evidence suggests that the congressmen lied in order to libel as racists those who opposed Obamacare.
Racism was a stain on the American character. But the wanton smear of racism against your political opponents when you are losing the argument on points is pretty ugly as well.