On July 15, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a resolution calling for Tea Party members to disassociate themselves from the extremists elements of their movement. Some members have been recorded on video with signs portraying President Barack Obama as, among other things, an African witch doctor.
The NAACP says such images add nothing to substantive debate about the role of government. But instead of disavowing fringe Tea Partiers, the movement’s leaders attacked the NAACP, calling it racist. Making matters worse, a somewhat prominent Tea Party member, Mark Williams, posted a “satirical” fake letter on his Web site in another attack on the civil rights organization.
Impersonating NAACP President Ben Jealous, Williams addresses the letter to President Abraham Lincoln, essentially saying that the civil rights organization wants nothing to do with emancipation. The phony letter also underscored the bogus charge that the NAACP is racist for criticizing racist aspects of the Tea Party. After all, the Tea Partiers simply want the government to stop raising taxes, right?
The letter is amazingly condescending to blacks-like we don’t have the sense to spot obvious manipulators like Mark Williams. The Tea Party movement has gained wide press coverage for their passionate rallies against the “limited role of government.” But what’s missing is a coherent message, solutions or a specific alternative to our current system of governance.
They’re also hypocrites. They complain that President Obama hasn’t done enough to create jobs. Meanwhile, they support a Nevada Senatorial candidate, Sharon Angle, who called unemployed people “spoiled.” They also lack credibility. Though they insist the president socked folks making $250,000 a year with higher taxes, no one-not even independent watchdog groups or fact-checkers-can back up such a claim.
Even an attempt-failed as it was- at satire” proves embarrassingly inept.
Successful movements are like businesses-they need structured leadership to survive and articulate representatives to convey a message clearly. Williams seems to think having an incoherent message is a virtue for the Tea Party. He proudly told Roland Martin on CNN recently that every Tea Party marcher is a leader. Apparently, he’s unaware of the Law of Diminishing Returns.
You wouldn’t have 30 managers run a bank or 100 fry cooks working a single grill. So how can having more than 1,000 leaders in a group be productive? It can’t. Then there is Williams’ other attack on the NAACP; that’s it past its prime as an organization and trying to regain relevance by riding the Tea Party’s coattail. Interesting, seeing as how the Tea Party says that their movement originated in 1773 by Samuel Adams, one of our nation’s founding fathers.
Who’s hitching their wagons to whom, Mark?
He is either too blind or dumb not to see the obvious difference between an American Revolution against an authoritarian British empire and disagreeing with the president’s tax plan.
If the Tea Party movement wants to create a legacy like the NAACP’s year-plus years, it needs to let go of the childish attacks-stop penning silly, fake letters and find a comprehensible message.