Like almost everything that involves itself with the Republican Party the Tea Party movement very quickly went to shit. Now the Tea Party is synonymous with neoconservative Christianity, which differs greatly from regular Christianity in that it focuses primarily on hatred. Two groups facing the brunt of the Tea Party’s wrath are immigrants and Muslims (the latter often being a member of the former). Quite often when a self-proclaimed Tea Partier goes on an anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim tirade they are accused of racism and act totally dumbfounded, shocked even, that such an accusation would be made against them! They quickly accuse the accuser of playing the race card because they can’t imagine how anybody could legitimately claim their words were being racist!
I’m a fan of helping out when I can so I’m going to take a moment to explain why so many people who make up the Tea Party movement are accused of racism. To illustrate my explanation I’m going to reference a brand new post on the Central Minnesota Tea Party’s page:
Morrison County to be the recipient of 1000 Islamic refugees from Somalia! All American communities like Willmar and St. Cloud have been inundated, now they have their sights set on this community. Please read and consider the following;
Notice how the article didn’t cite the 1,000 Islamic refugees number? That’s going to be a common theme here. Another common theme is going to be the almost exclusive focus on the refugee’s religion and place of origin, which happens to be the thing racists almost exclusively focus on. You might be able to see where the accusations of racism stem from.
Did you know that the health system in St. Cloud reported having over 18,000 Somalis in their data base and that St. Cloud Apollo High School with a Somali population of 50% has had hundreds of visits by the police? Not surprising, American students and teachers alike are leaving for other schools. With the threat of a law suit, Apollo High has had to install foot baths for its growing Somali students. Also, Counties south of St Cloud, where the STEM Program buses many of these refugees, the main bus company involved, quit their contracts because of chaos on the buses which involved Somali students.
What does it matter how many Somalis are in the St. Cloud health system database? Assuming the number is accurate, which isn’t a safe assumption since the number isn’t cited, it doesn’t tell us anything. Is this statistically significant for some reason? How does the number compare to the overall population of St. Cloud? Do we know most of these database entries aren’t due to new immigrants getting up to speed on vaccinations they likely didn’t receive in Somalia? It’s a vapid statement. The same goes for the uncited percent of Somalis in the St. Cloud Apollo High School and number of police visits. In fact every statement in this paragraph is made without any kind of backing. Making baseless, sinister accusations against a population of people based on where they’re from is the basic definition of racism. I think it’s pretty easy to see why Tea Party opponents make accusations of racism.
I was going go do a play by play of this entire article to illustrate why people accuse Tea Partiers of racism but I realized I’d be repeating myself. If you’re interested in the claims made go ahead and click on the link and read the post by “Admin” (hiding behind a default user name is probably wise when writing such drivel). A lot of accusations are made but none of them are backed up with citations. It’s basically paragraph after paragraph of “Admin” badmouthing Muslims and Somalis. So I’ll save a lot of typing and skip to the final part of interest:
Concerned citizens in St. Cloud were successful in preventing the building of a huge Mosque with a 50 foot high minaret which could have called Muslims to prayer starting at 5AM, and could have continued blasting away five times a day. Prevent this from happening to your community by; 1) NOT contributing to the following groups: Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, World Relief Minnesota, Minnesota council of churches or UNICEF. 2) Make copies of this and pass it on.
Answer me this, why does a political organization care at all about whether or not a mosque was constructed? The only reason I could see one caring is if property rights were violated to prevent the mosque from being built (of course the Tea Partiers tend to oppose property rights so I could see them being OK if property rights were violated in this case). Otherwise there’s no political issue here at all. And while I admit that I’m not fully versed on the finer points of Islam I’m fairly certain minarets don’t make sound and therefore don’t “blast away five times a day.” Yes, I’m poking fun at the phrasing there. But the solution to somebody standing on a minaret and yelling prayers at 05:00 is to hold them to the same noise ordinances as everybody else. Done. It’s not that damn difficult.
Since there is no political reason for anybody in the Tea Party to comment on this mosque in any official capacity (generally posting on the website of an organization is considered “official capacity”) one can only assume a personal vendetta against Muslims, which is certainly a form of bigotry. Since the Muslims in question are apparently all Somalis, based on the tirade above this paragraph, it also comes off as racist.
The purpose of this post isn’t to accuse every Tea Partier of being racist so feel free to save me the, “Not all Tea Partiers are racist,” comments. I know that. My point is to illustrate why Tea Partiers are accused of racism. When posts such as this appear on a website for a local Tea Party group it’s very easy to accuse the group of racism.
Now I’m going to throw in a bonus. What can be done about this? If you are a Tea Partier and you believe the label is worth saving (although I can’t fathom why) then you need to speak out against this shit just like all those Muslims who are ignored by neoconservative Christians speak out against radical Islam. Boot these people from your meetings and official gathers (you can do that but utilizing that principle I mentioned earlier called “property right”). As long as you remain silent and let these people join your reindeer games you’re going to get accused of, at the very least, associating with racists.