One thing I keep hearing from people in the Tea Party is "The liberals and the media are trying to paint us as a bunch of ignorant racists to discredit our cause!"
I can understand the complaint. If I was accused of being a racist without cause, or being ignorant without cause, I'd be pretty pissed off as well.
But the problem is, the Tea Party isn't getting these accusations without cause. Now, I know, "Oh, well, that's just isolated pockets", or "The Tea Party has such a diverse membership you're sure to find some areas with problems."
Here's my problem: it's one thing if you have some lone wolf in the crowd being an asshole. That happens within every group. But when it's the candidates you support, when the crowd sits back and cheers it on or refuses to act against the racist violent members in their midsts, then you can't claim it's an isolated problem.
When the leader you pick says its easier for minorities to make money selling drugs than getting an education, then yeah - I'm going to say that the people who selected this man to run for office are racists.
Sharon Angle has an ad where Hispanics are patrolling the fence, here to take away jobs and college benefits from an all-white group of college students.
And another Sharon Angle ad that shows Hispanics as scary gang members and arrested while "US citizens" (aka - white people) live in fear of the scary brown people:
Angle, if you may recall, won her Republican primary thanks to Tea Party support. If this is the candidate that Tea Party members pick, then it's perfectly within reach to call the Tea Party movement racist for supporting racists like Angle.
When the NAACP issued a report showing how there were elements in the Tea Party movement that were racist, this was the perfect opportunity for the Tea Party memebers to say "Good! We can now find these members within our midst and evict them from the movement." And while there were some token dismissals, you still have some of the largest groups like Tea Party nation call for a Muslim free congress - and still enjoy the support of Tea Party members rather than moving to expel and reject such notions, you don't hear a peep.
You can't say that racism and bigotry are isolated incidents when the leaders that your group selects and supports are saying and doing the bigoted things. Now, I know, someone will say "But those are just isolated incidents! You're blanketing the whole party based on the views of a few!"
No. I'm basing the whole party based on the leaders that they choose. You may not be judged by the company you keep, but you should be judged based on whom you choose to lead your movement.