The Left’s Tea Party Smear: A symptom of their identity politics

Nick Rizzuto
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Posted: Apr 08, 2010 11:29 AM
The Left’s Tea Party Smear: A symptom of their identity politics
Since the protests began last year, opposition to the tea party movement has found itself befuddled as to what approach they should take in countering it. After a series of missteps, that opposition has landed on what seems all along to have been its inevitable conclusion; that the tea party movement is little more than a racist front, lashing out in fear of "diversity". While this vicious smear of thousands, if not millions, of Americans might seem like a desperate ploy by those with their political backs against the wall, the truth is that the left and their media allies' insistence upon the race narrative is merely a symptom of their dependence upon identity as the prime engine of their political power.

On the left, identity plays a crucial role in political activism and their activist groups are often organized in such a way to bring attention to this fact. Whether they be African American, Chicano, gay, or otherwise, peoples grievances are usually anchored to some aspect of their identity.

Even at rallies that wouldn't at first glance lend themselves to identity politics, it's common to see placards that identify the protesters as a member of some group. Anti-war protests for example are always peppered with signs that declare membership to socialist workers groups, Hispanic organizations like la Raza, or women's groups like NOW.

Seeing as the left finds its identity in the group dynamic, it stands to reason that they'd looking to anchor their opposition to identity as well. To this end, in vilifying the tea party movement, they simply chose the most shallow and politically damaging accusation; intentional, and exclusionary whiteness.

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It should be remembered that before the left settled on their race narrative, they were still attempting to marginalize the tea party with identity. In the movements formative days, politicians and their spokespeople tried to paint protesters with a broad socio-economic brush. For example, Whitehouse Spokesman Robert Gibbs took to calling town hall protesters as the "Brooks Brothers" mob, while Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisted that they were little more than astro-turfers, obviously paid for by some nefarious healthcare cartel.

Despite these attempts at marginalization, the rapid growth and continued mobilization of thousands of Americans quickly rendered this narrative absurd on its face. The facts did not bear out their accusations and the people simply weren't buying it. Instead, it would be necessary to pull out the old stand-by; race.

Despite the fact that there has been considerable contribution to the tea party movement by minorities as both organizers and participants, the media feels no shame in covering that fact up for benefit of the narrative. While they might once have been the unbiased spectators of popular movements, the media has, for the first time in recent memory, begun actively participating and conspiring to undermine one for the sole purpose of protecting their preferred political faction. Almost as a united front, and marching lock step behind the lefts accepted narrative, the American media has singled out black and minority tea partiers for dismissal and marginalization the likes of which would make Bull Connor blush.

Even the fact that the ironies make for fantastic fodder hasn't awoken the mainstream media to them. For example, Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee remarked recently that all the tea party rallies were missing were white hoods. His primary GOP challenger this year is an African American woman named Charlotte Bergmann whose support of the tea party is front and center on her campaign website.

The truth is that it simply hasn't been necessary for the tea partiers to attach identity to their protests. As their primary concerns are the continuation of limited constitutional governance and the governments recognition of natural rights as Americas founding doctrines, the movement has remained as inherently colorless and universal as their the concepts they've wrapped themselves in. For this reason, the left is still finding it difficult to believably project racism on the entirety of the tea party movement. They've found themselves relying on unfounded anecdotal evidence, and a handful of off-color signs (amongst thousands it should be noted) as proof of widespread racism.

Small government protests have been, and will continue to be, a thorn in the side of left wing big government schemers. But to their detriment, the tea party movement transcends not only the racial boundaries the left insists it upholds, but it transcends specific issues, as its tenets can be applied to everything from healthcare to tax policy. For this reason, the tea party will remain an elusive target to those who are intent on marginalizing it through identity politics.