By Cash Michaels
Republicans don’t like it. Conservatives can’t stand it. And Fox News has made it clear that they won’t tolerate it.
But African-Americans here in North Carolina, and across the nation, are giving Congresswoman Maxine Waters the big “thumbs up” for telling the conservative Tea Party - seen by many to be a right-wing radical arm of the Republican Party - to, “…go straight to hell!”
“Well, that is where the Republican Tea Party is going, [and] it is going to be crowded in that little ol’ hand basket,” remarked Wes, one of many who commented on FaceBook this week about the incident at The Carolinian’s request.
Another Facebooker remarked that “Congresswoman Waters was far too kind.”
Still another said, “I think she should apologize…for not saying it sooner.”
And Annette E. chimed in, “All of the racist comments that they have been making, and they want her to apologize for that!”
Indeed, of the nearly one hundred responses The Carolinian got on FaceBook, none were critical of Rep. Waters, supporting her leadership in standing up to what they see as determined right-wing opposition to President Obama, and their issues.
On the congresswoman’s own FaceBook page, however, opponents blasted her.
Is THAT what you call "Liberal civility"????,” wrote John C. “You call this providing leadership? RESIGN, MADAM!”
Another critic, Victor B, wrote, “She should deal with the hate, violence in her own constituent's neighborhoods, and Broken families, and fatherless kids, and The results of years of Democrat policies in the Black Community,, this is nothing to do with Tea Party, but they need a scapegoat rather then focus on their own dysfunction!”
Clearly, Rep. Waters’ rhetorical declaration of war with the Tea Party has further enflamed the political rhetoric in Washington, D.C. and the country.
It was last year that the national NAACP created a firestorm when it passed a controversial resolution accusing the Tea Party movement with using “racial epithets,” “engaging in explicit racist behavior” and “displaying signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically.”
And just this week on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” former NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond was asked about racism and the Tea Party.
NPR HOST: Some people read into the Tea Party's almost neuralgic reaction to government spending, a sense that white people figure black people benefit disproportionately from federal programs. Do you suspect a racial subtext to that whole argument?
BOND: Absolutely. And I'm not saying that all of the Tea Party members are racist. Not at all. I don't think anybody says that. But I think there's an element of racial animus there and the feeling that some white people have that these black people are now getting something that I'm not getting and I should be getting it, too.
Clearly, with a floundering economy and rising unemployment, the feelings are becoming more frayed in the nation as poll after poll shows Americans are increasingly losing faith in President Obama, the Congress, and the country’s overall direction.
Waters, a veteran California Democratic representative known for challenging the powers that be, made her controversial remarks last Saturday during a black community summit in Inglewood, California.
During pointed remarks about how joblessness in the African-American community nationwide is at least 16 percent - twice that of white Americans - an angry Rep. Waters assured the audience that she and the Congressional Black Caucus were willing to take on their Republican colleagues in the GOP-led US House, and the small faction of GOP Tea Party House members who caused the country’s recent debt ceiling crisis.
“I’m not afraid of anybody,” an angry Rep. Waters told the audience. “This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to Hell!”
As the cheering crowd jumped to their feet in rousing applause, Waters added that she was willing to help the Tea Party get there too!
The reaction from across the political spectrum was quick, and predictable.
Leaders of major Tea Party groups, like the Tea Party Patriots, blasted Rep. Waters’ remarks, and called on President Obama to publicly condemn them. They also invoked the widely reported story that Vice President Joe Biden, during a closed meeting with House Democrats during the debt-ceiling crisis, allegedly referred to Tea Party members of Congress as “terrorists.” They also alleged that some Democrats have also called them “hostage takers” for being publicly willing to allow federal government to go into default on its fiscal obligations by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.
Tea Party members of Congress say they are only carrying out the mandate of the voters who elected them in last November’s stunning midterm elections, where Republicans won 60 seats to claim the majority.
But even before Rep. Waters’ sharp declaration, African-Americans were appalled with racist statements about the president, and bigoted signs at Tea Party rallies, that sent the clear message that right-wing America is actively seeking to “take back their country” from President Obama and his multi-cultural supporters.
“When you have conservative radio talk show host Tammy Bruce, who calls the first lady trash, when you have Glenn Beck, who says [Pres. Obama] has a hatred of white people, when you have Sherri Goforth, who worked for the Tennessee GOP state senator, who sends an e-mail out depicting the president like a spook, does not apologize initially because of the racism e-mail…what you have here, you do have individuals who have a problem with this,” journalist Roland Martin told CNN in 2009.
It’s not just Rep. Waters who says the Tea Party has gone too far. Even North Carolina’s Democratic congressman are calling out the right-wing for their hardball tactics.
“I think the Obama Administration has underestimated at every stage how extreme and uncompromising they are,” Rep. Brad Miller [D-NC-13] told The Carolinian several weeks ago. “The Tea Party began with kind of a coalition of all of the most extreme right fringe groups.”
“There is no compromise in that, and they believe they have a set of beliefs that have very little to do with reality,” Rep. Miller continued. “They don’t let reality intrude too much into what they believe.”
Last spring, Rep. G. K. Butterfield [D-NC-1], told The Carolinian he knew what would happen once the Republicans took over Congress last November.
“When we campaigned in 2010 we tried to warn our citizens that if the Republicans became the majority that they would just reign tyranny over our communities, and that is absolutely true,” Butterfield said. “ The Tea Party Republicans control the Republican caucus in the House. There’s not but 87 of them who’ve come to town, but those 87 are very loud and very vocal, and very demanding. Right now it seems that these 87 are really controlling the agenda that the Republicans are putting forward.”
“Rep. Butterfield continued, “ Their agenda does not include low-income people, it does not include minorities, and certainly it does not include those of us who live in rural communities.”
Butterfield added that the Republican majority in Congress has two objectives - to both discredit President Obama and make sure that he’s defeated in the 2012 elections; and also to cut federal discretionary spending.
Thus, the reason why the Congressional Black Caucus has recently been urging President Obama, sometimes in stark and highly critical terms, to stand up to the Tea Party members of Congress, and fight hard for the issues on which he was elected.
Rep. Waters blasted the president last week for failing to address black unemployment specifically, and allowing the Tea Party to effectively walk over him.
“The Tea Party discovered something,” she told an audience in Atlanta, Ga., one of three locations where the CBC held a job fair. “That is if they organize, if they talk loud enough, if they threaten, if they register to vote and elect a few people, they can take over the Congress of the United States. They called our bluff and we blinked. We should have made them walk the plank.”