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Props to the Tea Party?

Over the weekend, I was one of the many voices calling out Tea Party Express organizer Mark Williams for his blatant racism in writing that mock letter from the NAACP to Abraham Lincoln, in which he suggested that blacks were better off as slaves. I wrote that unless other Tea Party leaders condemned him and forced him to step down, all charges of racism against the Tea Party would be legitimized.

It would seem they got the message. Mark Williams has been ousted from his position, and other Tea Party leaders are rushing to say that his views do not represent those of the movement as a whole. Maybe I’m being too fair, but I’ll accept them at their word for now. They could have defended him, but instead they threw him under the bus where he belonged, which means they at least deserve a little anti-racist credit.

Of course, I still think the Tea Party Movement as a whole is a deeply immoral organization. Even if you completely ignore the racist elements within it, the movement itself is controlled by wealthy corporate interests who harness the anger of middle-class Americans and turn it against those who are actually trying to fix the problems they’re so angry about. Conservatives stood against health care reform based on the Tea Party’s lie that it was a massive government takeover of the system, and they stood against Financial Reform based on the Tea Party’s lie that it was a plot to socialize the banks. In both cases, their protests helped create a political climate in which the legislation had to move further to the right until it was too weak to accomplish anything. These people were duped into standing against their own best interests.

So even if the Tea Party isn’t racist (and that debate is nowhere near settled), it’s still completely and utterly contemptible.

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