The NAACP Joins the Club

by Michael Graham

I’d like to welcome the NAACP to the pantheon of liberals and left-wing organizations making false allegations of racism against the tea-party movement. They join the proud ranks of Speaker Pelosi (who accused us of brandishing swastikas), Congressman Baird (who called us “brown shirts”), and Keith Olbermann (who has called us, well, everything).

Now it’s the NAACP that’s labeling elements of the tea-party movement “racist” and claiming our goal is “to push our country back to the pre–civil rights era.”

To anyone with even a passing knowledge of the tea-party movement, this is nonsense. Tea partiers wave signs about debt, spending, and health care, not busing or segregation. The NAACP’s charge is insulting to typical Americans (like my mom) who’ve attended tea parties; it is demeaning to the legacy of the NAACP.

So why are they doing it? The answer can be found on the front page of the Washington Post: Nearly 60 percent of Americans say they lack confidence that President Obama will do the right things for America. The November election is looking uglier every day.

So Michelle Obama’s speech at the NAACP convention urged black voters to get “intense,” and the NAACP political hacks whipped up this resolution to inspire division and anger — and, they hope, drive up turnout in November. Desperation and shamelessness are both on display in this resolution.

False accusations of tea-party racism are so common they’ve become tedious. The NAACP resolution makes only half-hearted efforts to provide evidence; it includes accusations that are unfounded (that someone yelled the n-word at Rep. John Lewis during a D.C. rally) and blatantly untrue (the now-disproven claim that a tea partier spat on a black congressman).

But even if allegations of individual bad behavior were true, what’s that got to do with the mission and message of the tea-party movement? Have a handful of people shown up at tea-party rallies with offensive signs? Of course they have. There have been thousands of rallies and millions of attendees — so what?

Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright — both openly racist conspiracy theorists — have been featured speakers at NAACP events. So has Al Sharpton, even after the Tawana Brawley spectacle and the loss of life at Freddie’s Fashion Mart.

Does this make the NAACP an organization of racist, anti-Semitic loons? Or is it the case that any large organization dealing with issues people feel passionate about is going to attract extremists and nuts?

The difference is, when you’re looking for loonies at a tea-party rally, they’re on the fringe. When you’re looking for them at liberal events, they’re on stage.

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