Politics

Leonard Pitts and the Race Baiters

I’ve just about had enough of Leonard Pitts. And Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. And just about everyone at MSNBC. Pitts and people like him are constantly telling us that the bottom-up movement known as “Tea Parties” is racist. I’m tired hearing a bunch of liberals telling me what I am. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

Pitts, the columnist for the Miami Herald has a Pulitzer Prize on his shelf. The man can write and quite well. Often, his columns are enjoyable jewels that resonate with tales of the down-and-out rising above their situations. But lately, he’s become a smear monger. 

A recent Pitts’ column revels in the results of polling data that Pitts uses to brand Tea Party people as racist. One poll in particular from the University of Washington’s Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality, offers “strong evidence” to Pitts that what he has suspected is true: There is a significant correlation between racial resentment and Tea Party zeal.

There must be! How else to explain this phenomenon that seems to Pitts and Robinson and other writers on the subject of race to be nothing more than hatred directed at Barack Obama because of his pigment? Pitts, by his own declaration in his column, is so brilliant an observer that he needed no poll to verify this. “Some of us needed only to observe the timing of the Tea Party rise.”

“Some of us” need to observe a lot of things, Mr. Pitts. I don’t know how many Tea Parties you’ve attended, but I have spoken at three. I’ll stipulate that most attendees are white and then ask the question: So what? 

At my first Tea Party, held on a carnival ground along Interstate 35 in Texas on April 15, 2009, hundreds showed up to protest. They were angry—you betcha! There were signs and speeches objecting to the big-spending policies of President Obama AND President Bush.

My second Tea Party was months later in a rodeo arena in Salado, Tex. Again, the rhetoric was about the vision of the Founding Fathers and anger at the current trend of obscene government spending. The local newspaper refused to print advance notice of the Tea Party and later played up a racial confrontation in the parking lot that most of the attendees never even saw. 

My third Tea Party, this past tax day, was in Georgetown, Tex., an Austin suburb. Several hundred people braved driving rain to sing patriotic songs and decry confiscatory tax rates. I talked about Samuel Adams and the right of the people to be governed by their own consent. Not one race-base comment was uttered from the podium.

In fact, I had just written a column, carried by HUMAN EVENTS, calling for African-Americans and Hispanic Americans who believe in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to join the Tea Parties. A lot of them did show up and a number of them were lined up as speakers, but not nearly enough.  So let me be frank: We in the Tea Party movement solicit the participation of ALL Americans who are not happy with the Big Government takeover that started under George W. Bush and has continued with the current President.

No, we are not anti-taxes. We are not anti-government. We are against confiscatory taxes, spreading the wealth around, and government takeovers of everything from General Motors to Wall Street. Most of all, we are not race-based. After all, this is a spontaneous citizen movement, not the Congressional Black Caucus or La Raza Unida.

What Pitts and others like him are doing is called “race baiting.” That is the art of twisting someone’s comments or actions or using non-sequiturs to smear that person or group as having a racial bias where none exists. 

Pitts, of course, doesn’t write much about the days when President George W. Bush was depicted with a Hitler mustache, and liberal crowds chanted, “Bush lied—people died.” How soon we forget the venomous rhetoric directed at a Republican president. 

There is no such double standard at Tea Parties. President Bush is liked by some, respected by many, but criticized by nearly all for his big-spending ways and for his involvement in TARP and his own stimulus bill. Republican members of Congress routinely take it on the chin for their pork-barrel earmarks. Tea Parties have not forgotten President Bush’s ludicrous comment about the TARP bailout, “I went against my free market instincts.”

Whether Pitts likes it or not, the Tea Parties represent a push-back from the orgy of government spending that has mired this country in record debt—and the new entitlement mentality that has given us SCHIP, the Pharmaceutical Benefit, and now Obamacare with absolutely no way to pay the bills. 

It is not racist to want to “take your country back” from such a government. 

As for Pitts and the rest of the race baiters, they are fortunate to live and write in a country that (so far) gives them an absolute right to say whatever they want to. Long may they have that right! And long may I have the right to call them out.


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