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Monday, April 19, 2010

Pastor C.L. Bryant Addresses a Tea Party Rally

Pastor C.L. Bryant Addresses a Tea Party Rally

Last Friday, I ended up getting involved in a political debate via Facebook, with an old high school friend of mine and a few others. My friend, like many other Americans, are horrified by the direction this country is moving in. Among other things, she sympathizes with the Tea Party movement and their cries for lesser government and tax revolution. Now, anyone that's familiar with my writing on the subject of the Tea Party movement knows that I do not look fondly on them. In fact, I think their a joke-- I have said it time and time again. I find their rhetoric to be vapid and lacking validity in the context of important issues, and they've also allowed their movement to be co-opted by two very toxic entities: GOP leaders, and racists/conspiracy theorists. I've watched these people do nothing but scream and yell soundbites and talking points, and not really have the information to back it up, other than what they've seen on Fox News. I can relate to the passion, and I appreciate SOME of their concerns, but for the most part, I am not a fan.

Our debate inevitably led to race. Now, like I said, I went to high school with this woman; we were pretty good friends. I was one of only a few Black folks that attended this middle/upper class, suburban, predominately White high school, located in the south central region of New Jersey (40 minutes from Philadelphia). I don't think, in those years, we ever discussed race; to most people, it's not that important...and those are the kind of people that I like. Suffice it to say, I had dealt with others that used the word "nigger", and other slurs, quite frequently. But it was a case-by-case basis with which I dealt with that issue at all. Like I said, with the people that I liked to spend time with, it never really came up.  But recently, we've been kind of wading in the murky, filthy sewer of racism in America, as there seem to be stories about race every other day in the news lately.  There have been a lot of stories about teabaggers at rallies holding ignorant signs, shouting epithets (that are now being dismissed as imaginary, by the GOP and others-- more on that later).  Hell, someone even sent me a story this morning about a cookbook misprint that called from "ground black people", instead of "black pepper" (most definitely a typo...and a funny one at that). For the last 3 years, the submerged racial tensions in our nation are bubbling up. There are Whites who admitted that they were "not ready" to have a Black president. Others came right out and said that they wouldn't vote for a "nigger". Not at all shocking, if you're familiar with the history of America.I remember watching footage of Civil Rights protests when I was school...and watching White folks say some of the most insane, hateful things I had heard at the time...and then you see videos on You Tube that almost look and sound THE EXACT SAME WAY. What else are people supposed to think?

I have made no apologies, and will make not apologies, about my opinion that racists, extremists, and conspiracy goons (birthers) have flocked to the Tea Party in search of political relevance and legitimacy. The denials that have been made from party insiders and the GOP are flat-out lies.  Of COURSE NOT all of those White folks (who overwhelmingly make up the party) are racist-- I think that goes without saying...but it often needs to be said, because some folks have a hard time with this criticism. To say that it does not exist is down-right stupid. This is where my old friend and I had some issue-- with the fact that this racism exists. And not just for Black folks, mind you...Arabs/Middle Easterners, "illegal immigrants" (which generally means Mexicans), and other xenophobic names and phrases are used to amplify what can easily be perceived by most people to be pro-White, anti-Brown/Black rhetoric.

This morning, I found a link that she had sent me. Accompanying the link was one question: "is he a racist?" The clip showed a video of a man named Pastor C.L. Bryant speaking at a Tea Party rally in Pittsburg, PA on tax day (April 15th, 2010). Yes, he was Black. That was the point, after all, to show me that there was a Black person at one of these things-- and addressing the crowd, no less(!). I have heard of this "strange" phenomena of Black folks having been spotted at these events. But, much like UFOs and Big Foot, there's been very little (if any) photographic evidence of this occurring. But this video confirms it...a Black guy was spotted at a Tea Party Rally.

Smart-ass comments aside, I watched the clip. And you know what? It was generic enough to change the context of video-- in other words, there was nothing that has been said here that hasn't been said about a host of other issues before. I'm sure some people were moved by it-- good for them. The whole idea of our constitution being under attack, politicians and run-away government were the same things being said while Bush/Cheney were in office. The only difference? If you said that back then, you were considered a traitor and unpatriotic. And back then, it was MORE TRUE than it is today. Not to say that we don't have dirt bags in our government...but come on. This is the thing that pisses me off the most about this movement. After everything that was said and done from 2000-2008 by the previous administration, and NONE OF THESE PEOPLE had anything to say?! I always ask-- where the F*CK was all the outrage then!? I am STILL angry about the things that were done to this country...and only NOW, 1.5 years into this new administration-- NOW, people are "seeing the light"?!

Anyway, the Pastor really didn't say much. It seemed more like a pep rally, to get the crowd riled up. Nothing wrong with that. But I am yet to see the substance. Every time I hear an argument from these people-- which is rare because they're usually always screaming and yelling something-- I find that their logic is easily debated, not by ideology...but facts. I find it obnoxious that they continue to whine about left-wing smears, but have no problems yelling nasty, stupid things to and about people they disagree with. Now, I am no better-- I will admit that. I have made some sharp and mean-spirited comments about these people. But none of my comments were out-of-hand. Everything I've said about these people is the result of hearing what they had to say first. It's not about "they started it". It's about simple, basic logic. If you had the audacity to say things out loud, for people to hear...if you have the balls to hold up incendiary signs in public, in front of cameras, for people to could you not expect people to react? And when people react to them with stinging criticism, 'baggers bitch and moan about how the "lamestream media" and "left-wingers" won't listen to them or take them seriously. It's not difficult to see why.

When teabaggers make proclamations about who they think "real Americans" are, they do no speak for everyone. They THINK they do, but they do not. Believe me, I really want to be able to take them seriously. I LOVE the idea of a 4th political party in this country. Hell, I'd like MORE options. But I'm just not buying what they are selling.

I am looking forward to the time, maybe 2-3 years from now, when the Tea Party presents an articulate, reasoned platform that its candidates can universally run on. I look forward to intelligent debate. I look forward to ALL AMERICANS exercising their democratic rights. Until then, anyone can send me videos of Black folks speaking at these rallies all you want to PROVE to me that they are not racists. The thing is, I already know that MOST of them are not. Look, I bust my ass like everyone else. I work hard for the money I make, and have always been annoyed by the people that DON'T work and seem to be getting along more easily than I EVER have. I HATE that, to be honest. I don't want to have to be responsible for any person who does not have the desire to work, or buy homes OR have kids they cannot afford. These things, however, are not exclusive to one ethnic group/race. ALL RACES in this country have people that don't want to do a goddamn thing-- that know how to game the system to get by with doing practically nothing (much like the rich). Being in the middle of rich and poor SUCKS. And in the middle of crappy economy, it's WORSE. But in the last decade, the only true welfare recipients, the REAL Socialists, have been the wealthy 1-3%. Why are we ALL COLLECTIVELY not going after them?! Why doesn't all this energy get shifted towards the Wall Street douche bags that are the REAL enemies of our system?!And not just them-- the POLITICIANS that work for them!! I'm looking at YOU, GOP!!!!!!!! (And a few of you Democrats as well...)

You know what I want, more than anything? I want all this racist/racial crap to end. I'm pretty tired of it. Believe it or not, I don't care too much about the racism that's out there, because it does not affect me in my every day life. It's the hypocrisy and the denial that annoys me to NO END. And I believe that once that albatross is removed from Americas' neck, MAYBE we can get to the business of doing what's right for our nation.
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