This web site is about conspiracy theories involving Barack Obama, focusing on ones concerning his presidential eligibility and there we run across our share of people who can’t quite color within the lines. However, there is a broader movement in the United States with some pretty crazy ideas too. While keeping track of the “birthers” I can’t quite avoid the other eccentric wings of the conservative movement. The most recent label assumed by the “wingiest” of the right wing is the Tea Party–not so much a ideological movement as it is a clustering of angst.
“Some of these Tea Party people are nuts. … about 10 percent … are just loons, out of their mind.” Bill O’Reilly.
One of the things I ran across was a newspaper editorial from the Charlotte West Virginia Gazette this past week, providing more information about the Nashville “Tea Party” convention. The editorial comments on the racial makeup of the crowd:
The lily-white Tea Party movement seems laced with unspoken racial prejudice against America’s first black president, the [New York] Times noted. Barack Obama is endlessly depicted as “not one of us” and even as an African witch doctor. He’s called an agent of the New World Order, covertly bringing “socialist tyranny” to America through plots such as universal health care.
Now I for one hesitate to isolate racism as the key factor. I personally think racism is on the way out, as soon as the majority of the racists die off. I think the issue is more of “me vs. them.” They want to protect people like them, their jobs, their freedom, their way of life from what they fear is an onslaught of change and dominance by strangers they don’t understand.
I for one don’t think Obama’s election made these people crazy. I think he just provides a focus for their fear, anxiety and anger. And let’s face it: these are anxious times. Somehow we have functioned as a country at some level with these folks, probably since the beginning. The Internet helps them become more visible, and perhaps helps issues to crystallize.
I would just remind folks like Bill O’Reilly that they make their living fanning outrage what the Bible says: they who sow the wind reap the whirlwind (Hosea ch. 8).