Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finally Used the Oven

Well it was mostly a friend who put it together. Thanks mom for being tech support on this endeavor. It was a hit.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In Defense of the Tea Party. Really.

What I wrote to Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post columnist, about his column this morning: We'll see if he gets back to me. Doubtful.

I occasionally read your columns and see you on MSNBC and want to give my two cents on something. I'm really tired of this narrative that racism is at the heart of the anti-Obama crowd. As some background, I am a white moderate (often leaning Republican) who voted for Obama two years ago mainly due to the fiscal profligacy of Republicans over the prior eight years. I am no fan of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Bachmann, Beck, Limbaugh, etc. (In fairness I'm quite repulsed by their mirror opposites: Shultz, Olbermann, etc.)

So it's a bit odd that I find myself defending the Tea Party against this racism charge you put forward today, on election day. But here goes:

You wrote:

"First, I'll state the obvious: It's not racist to criticize President Obama, it's not racist to have conservative views, and it's not racist to join the tea party. But there's something about the nature and tone of the most vitriolic attacks on the president that I believe is distinctive -- and difficult to explain without asking whether race is playing a role."

It seems to me this paragraph is a preemptive defense to pushback from people like me. You can thus truthfully say: 'I didn't say everybody who opposed Obama is racist". But then you hint at just that throughout the article. Just 'asking' a question about the role of race, you say. Come on. That reminds me of the Tea Partiers who just want to 'ask questions' about the motives/funding the Ground Zero mosque. It's an intellectually lazy way of throwing stones when there's not enough evidence to support your claim. You also wonder about a perceived 'coincidence':

"The first African-American president takes office, and almost immediately we see the birth of a big, passionate national movement -- overwhelmingly white and lavishly funded -- that tries its best to delegitimize that president, seeks to thwart his every initiative, and manages to bring the discredited and moribund opposition party roaring back to life. Coincidence?"

Both of your quotes I've cited remind me of the following piece from Jon Stewart:

There are undoubtedly a few despicable racists who may show up at Tea Party events. But you're painting a narrative of an entire movement based off of a few random crazies out of literally millions of supporters. This is terribly unfair and does our nation no service, even if it may help delegitimize a movement you are not fond of. In reality there are plenty of ways to oppose the Tea Party without having to resort to the racism charge.

And then on this theme: "One thing that struck me from the beginning about the tea party rhetoric is the idea of reclaiming something that has been taken away." It seems you are using this statement to support your argument (or question) about racism in the Tea Party. I'm only 33 but I can say with confidence that I hear this 'take America back' rhetoric dozens of times every two years from politicians of both strips when they're campaigning. How in the world is it racist this time around? It's probably the single most common platitude I hear from campaigning politicians. That you could infer this same comment to be racist in this election cycle is puzzling.

Eugene, I just want to emphasize how toxic and poisonous the charge of racism is. To be so cavalier with this accusation doesn't do us any favors. And you're denying real racists out there a term they really deserve. And back to your 'coincidence' question: there are couple things to keep in mind. First, we live in a hyper-partisan world at the moment. There was widespread vitriol towards Clinton and Bush before Obama. And there will be to whoever follows Obama, whatever the race/gender of that person. This is a fact. The vitriol is a result of the political era in which we live, not race. Additionally, I want to remind you that the deficits under Bush were bad but exploded in 2009 and 2010. Take a look at a chart of the deficit/GDP and this is clear. And then take a look at the projections. In this context, I take the Tea Party at their word that this is the main reason why they sprung up and are so energized.

It's not race, it's deficits.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010