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Jun 09, 2010

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Travis Greene

No, but they have their own xenophobia about Muslim immigrants and other groups. I don't think the Tea Party is *just* or even *primarily* about race, but it's in the mix, consciously or not.

David

If the center-right party can do something about the debt and discontent over immigration than thats probably a thing. To most people thats a no brainer.

It's a pretty simple concept that it's difficult to spend to get out of debt and make a difference overall regarding it's reduction. Just like illegal immigration is just that.

Not sure about the race comment. But we all have opinions. My opinion is the media is not just and raises race as an issue when there isn't one. A good example; that our President has gone "street" with his kick ass comment.

Michael W. Kruse

I don't discount xenophobia being present. There is always some element present with us. I think most nations expect that immigrants are coming to their countries to adopt and adapt to the culture. What I think many nations in Europe are waking up to is significant populations that have landed in their borders that have no intention of integrating and are in fact hostile to the host culture. Yet they a compelled to support them with their taxes. I think some of the concern is the same in the U.S. although it is a little different story.

But the big issue in places like Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands, and other European nations is concern about the unsustainablity of present government structures. I am persuaded that this is at the core of the Tea Party movement, though it has other penultimate features as well, and it is not a monolithic community.

My point is that when we have people of diverse nations all coming to similar conclusions on the economics of government, to portray the Tea Party's prime motivation as hatred of a Black president is ludicrous.

JMorrow

Hmm... Just my two cents, but I think its still a bit of a stretch to call the Tea Party in the USA or in European governments as enacting a responsible, limited government within a new societal paradigm (outside our constant left/right axis). Certainly it would be preferable if they did, but at least in the USA, the movement has not been sophisticated enough to break out of the culture and political wars that have been waged for decades here. I hear more primordial, first level concerns than sophisticated strategizing from them.

Michael, I think your nuanced approach is way ahead of tea partiers in this country who are just now starting to talk about scaling back militarily and not writing a blank check the Defense Dept while at the same time scrutinizing social services. And without a doubt there is a xenophobic undertone in the rhetoric out there, even if its just perception more than reality. What's needed are tea party advocates who will willing and publically cross social and ethnic barriers. Its not enough to just say we aren't xenophobic and take our word for it, they've got to demonstrate it. If and when they do, and can articulate a coherent agenda, I could see them having a wider appeal.

Michael W. Kruse

I'm not so much endorsing any particular groups response. Rather my point is that there is an underlying sense that "something is wrong, and what is wrong is that government is out of control and messed up." That can be debated from many angles but I suggest that there is honest deep concern about this. My jibe is at those who are trying to marginalize those who have these concerns by subscribing nefarious motives to them.

Tea Party is an interesting complex phenom. I curious to see how it all unfolds.

As to reaching out, I do think it is interesting to see the prominence of women in Republican elections, backed by Tea Party factions. I recently linked that there are 32 blacks running in primaries for Republican seats, with varying degrees of viability, the most since Reconstruction. It would be interesting to know how many of them have Tea Party connections.

JMorrow

I agree that to ridicule or cast aspersions on the fears and concerns aired by tea partiers is not wise. There are legitimate concerns there, and they are also shared by a wider group of people than those who would affiliate themselves as such. Eric Law made a similar point during the recent PCUSA Multicultural Conference, that throwing our hands up at people who "don't get it" or express their fear of cultural changes is a strategic dead-end.

On the other hand though, if tea partiers want those concerns to be more than just expressed grievances to be aired but never acted upon, they need to build coalitions across social lines. That also means their rhetoric will be held to a higher standard. If that means policing the disruptive elements in a movement then it must be done. Politicans can't just say one thing to one demographic and think that all other constituencies will not hear and listen. I watched speeches from the tea party rally in DC earlier this year and saw the signs. So to counter that rhetoric will take intentional work, even if they have my sympathy on some issues.

So yes, I also watch with interest but with some trepidation.

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