Found another typically-overwrought missive from ProgressNow Colorado’s Bobby Clark in my email this morning, decrying comments made by former CD-6 Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo at last week’s Tea Party convention.
Last week, at the national extreme-right “Tea Party” Convention, former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo said that “people who could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.” He added that President Obama was elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote.” (NY Daily News, 2/5/10) [link added]
Tancredo praised the radical ‘Tea Partiers’ for launching a “revolution,” and told the audience gathered that “it is our nation.”
Click here to tell Tancredo he doesn’t speak for you.
“Civics tests” to vote have a long and ugly record in America, primarily as a means of denying minorities the right to vote during the so-called “Jim Crow” era of legal discrimination and segregation. Such “tests” were banned by the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1964, ending what is universally considered today a dark chapter in American history.
Rep. Terrance Carroll, the first-ever African-American Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, rejected excuses made by Tancredo for these statements, saying Tancredo should know “how hateful those tests were and how hateful that period of history was.” (Denver Post, 2/6/10)
Let’s send a message to Tom Tancredo and the xenophobic, extremist “Tea Party” supporters who cheer him on. Click below to respond to Tancredo and tell him that this country belongs to all of us, and we won’t let him and his band of fringe supporters divide us. We’ll share your comments with the media and send them to Tancredo:
Thanks for speaking out, and reminding America that Tom Tancredo does not speak for Colorado.
I don’t know that there’s any point in defending Tom Tancredo here – he’s perfectly capable of doing so himself, and besides, defending the man from mendacious attacks from the left would be a full-time job (just as making the attacks in the first place provides full-time employment for people at organizations like ProgressNow Colorado).
So no, I’ll focus on two small points in the email:
- Smell the Fear: Why does ProgressNow put out emails like this, denouncing their fellow citizens’ political involvement, calling Tea Partiers xenophobes, extremists, racists (as Michael Huttner is wont to do), etc., etc.? Why do they pretend to get so worked up over the Tea Party movement and similar pro-liberty grassroots organizations, and put such effort into demonizing them and attempting to polarize opinion against them?Simple: they sense a valid threat to their own power and influence. The pro-liberty movement is, like the netroots itself in 2004, just finding its legs. Statist activists like Mr. Clark and Mr. Huttner recognize that libertarians are waking up, and are learning from the same tactics and organizational structures their own groups pioneered over the last six years – and learning it from successful example, rather than reinventing the wheel on their own. If a pro-serfdom movement can obtain one-party rule at the state and federal levels through these means, what is to stop the pro-liberty movement from doing the same – if not better?
The hard-won political power now held by the Democrats it too great a victory for them to simply let go of now. Therefore, any threat to that entrenched power must be vigorously opposed, and preferably neutralized before it can gain traction with the voting public. Hence the use of smears, guilt by association, namecalling, and other means to paint the pro-liberty grassroots (of which the Tea Parties are but one part) as dangerous radicals who threaten the (new) status quo.
- Mind Your Framing: ProgressNow Colorado considers Tea Parties “radical”. When did “radical” become a dirty word to Progressives? Was it when they became the establishment themselves? Seems like not too long ago, being a “radical” was, for Progressives and leftists/statists generally, a badge of honor – it meant that you aimed to bring dramatic and immediate change to The System, to bring down The Man, to [insert your favorite 1960s counterculture cliche here].If Tea Partiers are now radicals, and ProgressNow Colorado stands in opposition to them, does that not make ProgressNow Colorado a reactionary organization, interested in stopping dissent and reinforcing the status quo?
My, how times have changed. We’re clearly not in the golden age of the “radical” 1960s anymore.
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