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Keith Olbermann vs. Dallas Tea Partiers: Both Wrong, One American
Olbermann is well known for throwing around accusations of racism even more baselessly than most leftists. He went so far as to call Scott Brown, upset winner of the recent Massachusetts Senate race, a racist solely because he campaigned in a pickup truck.
The self righteousness and vitriol of Olbermann's rants, coupled with his Chicken Little apocalyptic pronunciations whenever the liberal agenda faces the smallest threat, is mocked even by liberals like Ben Affleck and Jon Stewart.
Needless to say, Olbermann is not particularly fond of the Tea Party Movement. He often accuses it of racism with absolutely no evidence. Last week, he explained why the Tea Parties were so bad in his nightly Special Comment.
Olbermann began with the usual liberal platitudes about how much progress we've made since the Civil War on race relations so that now the "older, brutal prejudice with impunity world" is "no longer fashionable, indeed no longer acceptable", so that "it has become fashionable, sometimes psychologically necessary that when some of us express it, we have to put it in code or dress it up or provide a rationalization to ourselves for it."
It is worth noting that his examples of "brutal prejudice" were
pop star John Mayer stating he was not sexually attracted to blacks;
Both Mayer and Reid are liberal Obama supporters. Imus is a moderate who initially supported Obama. So you can only imagine how widely Olbermann casts his net in search of racism "in code."
Olbermann tells us,
"[T]he president is black, but you can't come out and say that's why you're scared. Say that and in all but the lifeless fringes of our society, you are an outcast. So this is where the euphemisms come in. Your taxes haven't gone up. The budget deficit is from the last administration's adventurous war. Grandma is much more likely to be death paneled by your insurance company. And a socialist president would be the one who tried to buy as many voters as possible with stupid tax cuts…"
Olbermann acknowledges how extreme his attacks on the Tea Party movement are. E actually says "I know phrases like Tea Klux Klan are incendiary, and I know I use them in part because I'm angry."
But he defends these use words, asking the Tea Partiers
"[H]ow many black faces do you see at these events? How many Hispanics, Asians, gays? Where are these people? Surely there must be blacks who think they're being bled by taxation? Surely there must be Hispanics who think the government should have let the auto industry fail? Surely there must be people of all colors and creeds who believe in cultural literacy tests and speaking English?
"Where are they? Where are they? Do you suppose they agree with you, but they've just chosen to attend their own separate meetings, that they're not at your Tea Party because they have a Tea Party of their own to go to?
"…And if it really is only a president's policy and not his skin, ask yourself one final question. Why are you surrounded by the largest crowd you will ever again see in your life that consists of nothing but people who look exactly like you. Good night and good luck."
The Dallas Tea Party Patriots responded in a YouTube video entitled Dallas Tea Party Invites Olbermann look-a-likes at MSNBC that has attracted over 200,000 views to date.
The well produced video points out that "we have more diversity on our three-person steering committee than your entire TV network line-up". It then splices Olbermann's statement "Surely there must be blacks who think they're being bled by taxation?" followed by an African American Tea Partier saying "oh you got that right." After the "Surely there must be Hispanics who think the government should have let the auto industry fail" statement, a Hispanic lady says "Que eres Keith Olbermann, estúpido?" which even after my two semesters of Spanish I know means "Keith Olbermann, What are you stupid?" but is oddly subtitled "of course Hispanics are upset about the auto industry takeover."
The video goes on to show a few more diverse faces. Four of the seven speakers the video showcases are black. Then a black woman who is on the Steering Committee says "Something tells me you've never been to a Tea Party" and invites Olbermann to come to a rally the Dallas Tea Party is hosting this Saturday, presumably he can bask in their diversity.
The Dallas Tea Party video was of course right to point out the hypocrisy of Olbermann ranting about diversity when he works for a network led exclusively by whites. But trying to justify the Tea Party cause by pretending they are diverse is a losing cause.
The conservative website Newsbusters gleefully points to a poll that shows that only 95% of the Tea Party Movement is white. These polls, however, have a huge margin of error because they are only dealing with a sub-sample size. Based on my own observations at three Tea Parties—including the 9/12 March—I'd guess they are at least 99% white. If this seems high, search "Tea Party Protest" into Google Images and count the faces yourself.
Even if Newsbusters' 95% figure is accurate, that is much higher than 67% of the US population that's white.
And while Whites rarely see politics through racial lenses, the plain fact is that Blacks and Hispanics do. They simply do not want to be in a party or movement that is mainly white, even if they support its principles.
No amount of pandering or "outreach" will change either of these factors.
The Tea Party movement is, and should be, open to all people for all races.
But the fact that minorities choose not to attend the Tea Parties should be a warning of how the defining American principles of limited government will fare if the country's demographics continue to be shifted by government policies of omission and commission..
It's time for the Tea Partiers to start agitating for an immigration moratorium.
Ellison Lodge (email him) works on Capitol Hill.