Tea Party leader is Stupid Thing of the Week



As usual, candidates were plentiful for the Stupid Thing of the Week Award. We were leaning toward Mel Gibson, for his startlingly f-ed up rants, released this week; or the judge in Switzerland who freed Roman Polanski; or Glenn Beck, for going ballistic over what Michelle Obama wore to the Gulf (check it out — you know you’re off the rails when even Bill O’Reilly thinks you’re going too far).

All those are worthy contenders, but for sheer, blatant stupidity, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Mark Williams, honcho of the Tea Party Express group. When the NAACP, earlier this week, condemned the obvious “racist elements” within tea party groups, the overwhelming reaction from the TP-ers was vintage first grade: “Nuh-UHH, we’re not – YOU are!” Williams topped them all, demonstrating the sour, tunnel-visioned mindset that drives many of the Tea Partiers’ actions. First, he called the NAACP — which, in case anyone needs to be reminded, was the primary organization driving the 20th century push for racial equality in America — “professional race-baiters who make ... more money off of race than any slave trader, ever.” Afterward, Williams went to his own blog and slathered it with a weird, “through the looking glass” blend of mockery and historical ignorance.

Williams is obsessed, apparently, with the fact that the NAACP uses the term “colored people” in its name, and says that makes the group racist. Well, you see, Mark, the NAACP was founded in 1909. At that time, and, in fact, well into the 1950s, “colored people” was African-Americans’ preferred term for themselves; it was seen as an indication of respect. Do you get it now, Mr. Williams? And don’t even think about saying that since preferred racial terms have changed, the NAACP should keep up with the times. If that’s how it worked, your own Tea Party would be something like the Soy Chai Party.

Williams’ blog entry is in the form of a supposed letter from NAACP head Ben Jealous (whom Williams calls Uncle Tom’s nephew) to Pres. Abraham Lincoln. In the letter, Jealous asks Lincoln to reverse emancipation because, “Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards.” Bad enough, but here’s our favorite part of Williams’ “letter”:

"Perhaps the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government 'stop raising our taxes.' That is outrageous! How will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society?"

Keep in mind, again, that this is how one of the Tea Party honchos defends his group against charges of harboring racists. So, Mark Williams, for all you do to confuse issues and squelch rational discussion, you’re the winner of the Stupid Thing of the Week Award!

Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams. Thanks for dressing up for the rally, Mark.
  • Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams. Thanks for dressing up for the rally, Mark.

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