Tea Party on Civil Rights
Many of the men who tell pollsters that they sympathize with or generally support the Tea Party may be doing so from their armchairs. In the local Tea Party meetings we visited, women provided active leadership. Even when a man chaired the meeting, women were invariably in charge of the sign-up sheets & email lists.
It certainly appears that some women have a great deal of influence at the local level, and some have used grassroots Tea Party activism as a stepping-stone to state and national influence. That would be nothing new in the annals of American civic democracy. Women's leadership has been well documented for the Christian Right.
At least one scholarly study suggests that problematic racial assumptions are widely held by Tea Party supporters. Tea Party supporters tended to rate blacks and Latinos as less hardworking than did other respondents. Tea Partiers' views of minorities were even more extreme than other avowed conservatives and Republicans. It is important to note that, compared to other Americans, Tea Partiers rate WHITES relatively poorly on these characteristics, too. Tea Partiers have negative views about all their fellow citizens; it is just that they make extra-jaundiced assessments of the work ethic of racial and ethnic minorities
While the Tea Partiers have been stung by accusations of racism--a popular sign at rallies reads, "It doesn't matter what this sign says/You'll call it racism anyway"--most have not been intimidated. Why not? First, even the president does not believe the change.
Second, few harbor the guilt of country-club Republicans and all regard the accusation of racism as an unsupportable slander. While Tea Partiers are ant-Obama, they were also anti-Pelosi, anti-Harry Reid, anti-Martha Coakley, and anti-Charlie Crist, all of them white. In 2010, the Tea Party supported two Southern black GOP candidates, both of who were elected to the House.
At the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party, we had 40,000 people gather on the National Mall. It was a typically joyous gathering. The press desperately wanted to report otherwise. So when a reporter questioned a black participant that day she started with a not-so-subtle observation. "There aren't a lot of African American men at these events," she said. "Have you ever felt uncomfortable?" He responded, "No, these are my people, Americans."
This is the difference between a canned stump speech and a Grateful Dead concert. It is a community in the fullest sense of the word.
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Natural Law Party
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
American Civil Liberties Union