THE TEA PARTY: DISTANT COUSIN OF THE KKK
by Jamelle Bouie at the Nation:
“Writing at the New York Times, historian Kevin Boyle has created something of a stir with his review of two recent books on the Ku Klux Klan. Here is the lede of the piece, which also doubles as the offending passage:
Imagine a political movement created in a moment of terrible anxiety, its origins shrouded in a peculiar combination of manipulation and grass-roots mobilization, its ranks dominated by Christian conservatives and self-proclaimed patriots, its agenda driven by its members’ fervent embrace of nationalism, nativism and moral regeneration, with more than a whiff of racism wafting through it.
No, not that movement.
Naturally, this inspired a torrent of criticism from right-wing blogs and pundits. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg attacks the review as “lame” and complains that Boyle failed to mention the Klan’s ties to Democrats and Progressives (as if either group was the same in the 1920s), while the right-wing Media Research Center described the review as offensive. The Weekly Standard takes Goldberg’s approach, and points its readers toward proof that Democrats and Progressives were the real allies of the Klan.
A few things. Any honest historian will readily acknowledge the extent to which the Klan was entwined with the Democratic politicians in the early part of the twentieth century. Although both parties had largely abandoned civil rights by the beginning of the twentieth century, it’s fair to say that up until the 1940s, the Democratic Party was the unambiguous party of white supremacy in the United States, particularly in the South. That the Klan was involved with the Democratic Party through the 1920s isn’t a shock, given the degree to which both groups dominated border states like Kentucky in the early part of the century.
More importantly, Boyle says nothing about the Klan as an organ of Republican politics. Instead, he makes the (correct) point that the forces that animated the Klan—conservative Christianity, nativism, white populism, hyper-patriotism and racial prejudice—have manifested themselves throughout American history, including the present day. And while the Tea Party isn’t an anti-black terrorist group, it’s hard to deny the extent to which the movement is motivated by the same constellation of reactionary forces.
The facts bear this out. According to a recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, 47 percent of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement also identify with the religious right, and 75 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party label themselves Christian conservatives. Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly white, more likely to see immigration as a problem, and more likely to harbor racial resentment toward African-Americans. Put another way, it’s no accident that birtherism found a home among Tea Partiers. And of course, Tea Party rhetoric tends toward to loud proclamations of “real” patriotism, and a desire to return to the foundations of American political life.
The Tea Party is a classic reactionary movement in the American tradition, and as a result, it shares similarities with the Ku Klux Klan. I repeat, that doesn’t mean that Tea Partiers are Klansmen, but it’s simply true that the movement draws from similar threads in American life. Given the extent to which this is abundantly clear, the Tea Party’s conservative defenders are, perhaps, protesting a little too much.
Comment: Jamelle seems very confused regarding his ‘facts’ of history. He doesn’t mention much history of the KKK which predates by decades the beginning of the twentieth century. One doesn’t need to check out Mr. Bouis’e race. He associates civil rights as if it were solely a race issue., black victims galore. One wonders if Mr. Bouie’s knowledge of history matriculated from a university Black Studies Deparment.
It could be that his stupidity regarding the KKK arises from his youth as well as the space in the world this youth has allowed him to occur.
If TRUTH were to allowed to be known on the matter, the most RACIST communities in America are populated by blacks. This misfortune has occured on two fronts……the black racist plantation of the American inner city and the black racist community created by the Black Studies Deparments in America’s universities of so called “Higher Learnings”. Both communities sell ignorance to American blacks for political purposes.
Read Mr. Bouie’s article again. It is likely he knows more about the Tea Party than he does about the KKK. Perhaps not, for it could be he has yet to emerge from the black racists’ cage of ignorance caused by the diseease of isolation.
Does anyone really believe that the KKK from its founding by Nathan Bedford Forrest was organized by white men and women throughout the country, many of them retired or near retirement age? Does he have any clue who Nathan Bedford Forrest was? in what years and how and where he became a hero?
Did Jamelle not learn from his studies at the University of Virginia that it would have been rather unlikely that the KKK would have been as happy with black participants in its ranks as are the Tea Party folk. Then again who would have known at those events where the KKK dressed up in full attire, the one including hoods.
There are those in the know who might claim that Mr. Forrest’s KKK served a heroiic function representing the downtrodden in the South and fought for political equality for his followers. Mr. University of Virginia didn’t mention this line of thinking, however.
Perhaps, he has never had to. America’s educational system has been very dull in its teaching of knowledge over the past half century. Jamelle Bouie is too young to be a newsreporter hack. It is likely the only thing he has been taught is “Black Studies”. Only a guess, folks, based on his writing.
The following is what the Nation included regarding Mr. Bouie’s background:
“Since July 2010, Jamelle Bouie has been a Writing Fellow for The American Prospect magazine in Washington D.C. His speciality is US politics—with a focus on parties, elections and campaign finance—and his work has appeared at The Washington Independent, CNN.com, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog at the Atlantic, in addition to regular blogging and analysis at The Prospect. He is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, and lives in Washington D.C, though his heart remains in Charlottesville, VA.”
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