Indiana Rep. Andre Carson used some inflammatory language to describe Tea-Party oriented lawmakers. Carson said that they want blacks as “second-class citizens” and “hanging from a tree.”
Criticism of Carson has been widespread and appropriate. His words harken back to a repulsive part of American history. What makes Carson’s comments complicated is that it is representative of the sad state of political discourse in America.
First of all, there is no excuse for Carson’s words. He blew it. Hopefully, he either apologizes or redefines what he meant.
On the other hand, those associated with the Tea Party can hardly point fingers at Carson.
When the Tea Party held rallies prior to the 2010 elections, posters of Barack Obama in a Hitler mustache were routinely used. That always bothered me because equating a black man to Nazis is just a shade this side of equating a Jewish man with Nazis. If that was Senator Joe Lieberman in a Hitler mustache, the outrage would be immense.
The Nazis went after the Jews because there were many in Europe. They would have gone after African-Americans or any peoples who were not fair-skinned, blonde-haired and blue-eyed if they were of sufficient numbers. Those who created an Obama picture with a Hitler-inspired toothbrush mustache may as well have been placed the President in a KKK hood. It is the same.
Yet there is no excuse for Carson to pollute the political waters anymore than they already have been stained. This is another example of just how bad things have become.
The video below opens with an audio from Carson. It should have stopped there. The rest of the video is spent with comments from other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Some of the comments are strong, but many are typical political rhetoric.
Rep. Frederica Wilson is quoted as saying “the real enemy is the Tea Party.”
Rep. Maxine Waters is quoted with her words “the Tea Party can go straight to hell.”
Somehow this is supposed to be on par with Carson’s words. If someone is a liberal Democrat, the Tea Party is the “enemy,” just as for Tea Party members liberal Democrats are political enemies.
This is politics after all. It involves electoral contests between opponents, rivals, foes — whatever one wants to call them. Unlike a sports contest, politics involves major affects on people’s lives. Calling the other side the “enemy” or telling them to “go straight to hell” are emotional words, but this isn’t the same as using lynching imagery or sending racist emails of watermelons on the White House lawn as some of Barack Obama’s opponents have done.
The Tea Party wants major cuts in social services that are going to have a disastrous impact on the black community. The members of the Black Caucus are expected to stand up for their constituents. This is what they are doing. There is nothing wrong with that. Carson did not due any favors by suggesting a lynching because it rallies his opponents and makes the all important political center, filled with independent voters, skittish when hot words like those are tossed about.
Yet to build a case that the Congressional Black Caucus is involved in a conspiracy to threaten bank runs and infiltrate neighborhoods of Tea Partiers, as this video appears to be trying to encourage makes solving the real problems all the harder.
Carson is described as a “racist” in the video title, but every speaker is also black. The Tea Party is overwhelmingly white. Both sides are using fighting words associated with racial politics when the real political problem is too much deficit spending, not enough revenues and a stagnant economy.