A columnist for the Durham Herald-Sun compares the "Tea Party" movement to the Ku Klux Klan. Paul Scott says the Klan was formed because "following the end of the Civil War, there was a dramatic surge in African American political power." Since Barack Obama is now President, history must be repeating itself. Oh, and both the Klan and the Tea Party held their first conventions in Nashville!
Actually, Nashville has pretty much been a consistent harbinger of death for independent political movements in recent history. It was where the famed Southern Party split in two in 1999, and where the Reform Party was forever fractured just one year later.
Scott says that what the Tea Party considers a "patriot" is "the dude with the Confederate baseball cap and the gun rack in the back of his pickup blastin' Lynard [sic] Skynard [sic]." Sounds like our kind of patriot! But then he writes, "The Dixiecrats of yesterday are the Ultra Right Wing Republicans of today." And that's the rub.
Disparagement of Dixiecrats aside, the convention that took place in Nashville over the weekend is not a product of the same movement that held the Tea Parties across the country last April, or took part in the march on Washington in September. No, this "convention" was just another example of the neoconservatives appropriating honest middle-America dissent for Repubican purposes.
Truth be told, "Tea Party" was a bad name for a 21st-century movement. While we would always encourage people to look to history for inspiration and guidance, yesterday's issues are not today's issues. And after the leftist media began lewdly referring to the protesters as "Teabaggers", the name should have been dumped.
Hopefully, the real American dissenters (taxpayers, independents, libertarians, conservatives) who founded the Tea Parties will not be fooled by the Republican Party's attempt to get them back in line. Let the Republicans be the Teabaggers, while the rest of us keep working for real change.