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Thursday, October 21, 2010

So-Called Tea Party Racism Victimizes Tea Party and All Reformers

A new report by the NAACP accuses the Tea Party movement of harboring racist and extremist elements within its ranks, showing links between certain Tea Party factions and acknowledged hate groups.   

The report has been used by various mainstream media outlets to justify sensationalist, provocative and unwarranted attacks on the Tea Party movement.  In fairness, the prologue to the report begins with the following text:
"We know the majority of Tea Party supporters are sincere, principled people of good will."

The report identifies various pernicious and repugnant characters who have inhabitated the political and social fringe for some time.  What the report fails to do, in my opinion, is identify these characters' M.O. -- their method of operation or modus operandi -- as rank opportunism, trying to use the greater popularity of a larger political/social/economic protest movement to advance their different and abhorrent agendas. 

The report also fails to identify the true victim of these political parasites:  the Tea Party movement itself, and the larger cause of economic and political reform.

Infiltration and other forms of political espionage and disinformation are nothing new, either domestically or abroad.  Often a sign of a movement's potency is its tendency to attract "free riders" and other political parasites who wish to use the movement's legitimacy or acceptance among the media to publicize, promote and advance their own, distinct agenda.  These people should not be associated with the larger movement which they wish to exploit.  A skilled observer will be able to identify some -- but not all -- of the frauds and phonies in the midst of a real movement or organization. 

The report also correctly calls on Tea Party organizations to police their ranks.  While the specter of background checks for fellow "activists" is naturally offensive, and ought not to be required nor compelled, the practical wisdom is that such reform-minded organizations should be "vetting" their membership to ensurue that rogue, extremist elements are not trying to surreptitiously enter and control their organizations.  

I have personally witnessed rogue members attempt to discredit the Tea Party and Stop the Ground Zero Mosque movements by displaying offensive signs at events, and especially when the news media is ready to pounce for sound bites and photos.  To their credit, both movements' members made sure to pull down such signs and expel their carriers in a matter of seconds.  Such vigilance is as necessary as it is unfortunate, but the sanctity of reform movements and the sanity of civiilized political discourse demands it. 

Eric Dixon is a New York small business and investigative lawyer who has represented several dozen political candidates, campaigns and organizations in matters involving election law compliance, due diligence and opposition research.  Mr. Dixon has been practicing law since graduating from Yale Law School in 1994.  Mr. Dixon is available for comment or consultation at 917-696-2442 and via e-mail at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com.
 

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