By Tim Wildmon
In America, if you are called a racist by certain people you are guilty until proven innocent.
Take nationally syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts for example. He used his Monday column that appeared in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal to declare the Tea Party movement one driven by racism due to the fact that President Barack Obama is an African-American. What hogwash.
Pitts wrote a racial profile of the Tea Party movement this way: “They tend to be white, Republican, male, over 45 and wealthier than the rest of us.”
Again I say, hogwash! And even it were true, what does any of that have to do with being deeply troubled, upset and angered by the massive expansion of the federal government by both Congress and the White House? Maybe white, Republican males over 45 and wealthier than the rest simply see clearly what is happening to America and they don’t like it. That does not make the Tea Party movement racist.
Pitts also noted that “57 percent” of the Tea Party supporters “hold a favorable opinion of George W. Bush.” And that is more evidence that the Tea Party is racist? And the term “favorable opinion” is very broad. There are many factors that could fit into that equation. It also means that 43 percent don’t have a “favorable opinion” of President Bush. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of a Republican president by almost half the Tea Party attendees.
What triggered all the angst that eventually gave birth to the Tea Party movement, in my view, was when Bush announced that the federal government was going to use several hundred billion dollars of American taxpayers’ money to bail out the big banks in New York City in September 2008. That is when this all began. The same people who are upset at Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the Democrats in general, were also furious at Bush at that time.
Then Obama and company came along and put Bush bailouts on steroids with the breathtaking “stimulus package” that was the largest spending bill in the history of our republic. They followed up with a health care bill that became law, a law that, again, greatly expanded the role of the federal government into the lives of citizens and a law that, in the view of many Tea Party supporters, is blatantly unconstitutional. Not to mention the fact that a majority of Americans in general did not support the federal government takeover of the health care industry this after a year of national debate on the issue.
Maybe one reason the Tea Party folks are more concerned about all this than other Americans are, is the fact that they are among the only 53 percent of people in this country who pay any federal income taxes at all. They see government’s wasteful spending, more centralized control by Washington – something the Founding Fathers were dead set against and warned us about– and they see America potentially becoming slaves to those who are buying our national debt such as the communist Chinese. This has absolutely nothing to do with the skin color of the President of the United States, who is, by the way, half white. Given that fact, I have to wonder if Mr. Pitts would consider the Tea Party folks only half racist.
According to an article by Associated Press: “Tax day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it’s simply somebody else’s problem.
“About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization…The result is a tax system that exempts half the country from paying for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education. It is a system in which the top 10 percent of earners households making an average of $366,400 in 2006 – paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government… The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.”
This explains in part, why the Tea Party may have the kind of demographic that bothers liberals like Leonard Pitts. The Tea Party people pay taxes and they care about how that money is spent.
Mr. Pitts and many in the mainstream media are always quick to reach for the racism card to play against conservatives. It is supposed to be their trump card. They say it – thus it is so. I believe a majority of fair-minded Americans are worn out with it. They aren’t buying it anymore.
Tim Wildmon, a Baldwyn resident, writes as a community columnist. He is president of the American Family Association, but his opinions do not necessarily represent the views of AFA, unless noted. Contact him at email@example.com.