Oh my god David Brooks. He too is indignant about the suggestion that a bunch of these racist slob tea partiers are racists. He saw some of them talking to black people last weekend, during the 2.9 billion person (according to conservative blog estimates) tea party march! He was running — which he is wont to do, you see! — and saw that a few of the blacks were having one of their “raps,” and some tea partiers were there with them, listening to the rap. Then he explains that populism means hating people who live in cities, none of whom have jobs or work hard.
You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I go running several times a week. My favorite route, because it’s so flat, is from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol and back. I was there last Saturday and found myself plodding through tens of thousands of anti-government “tea party” protesters.
They were carrying “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, “End the Fed” placards and signs condemning big government, Barack Obama, socialist health care and various elite institutions.
Then, as I got to where the Smithsonian museums start, I came across another rally, the Black Family Reunion Celebration. Several thousand people had gathered to celebrate African-American culture. I noticed that the mostly white tea party protesters were mingling in with the mostly black family reunion celebrants. The tea party people were buying lunch from the family reunion food stands. They had joined the audience of a rap concert.
Because sociology is more important than fitness, I stopped to watch the interaction.
And this sentence is where most of you probably stopped reading the column, correct?
But there is so much more sociology for David Brooks to babble about! Here is why there is no racism behind the more insane parts of the teabaggers:
The populist tendency has always used the same sort of rhetoric: for the ordinary people and against the fat cats and the educated class; for the small towns and against the financial centers.
And it has always had the same morality, which the historian Michael Kazin has called producerism. The idea is that free labor is the essence of Americanism. Hard-working ordinary people, who create wealth in material ways, are the moral backbone of the country. In this free, capitalist nation, people should be held responsible for their own output. Money should not be redistributed to those who do not work, and it should not be sucked off by condescending, manipulative elites.
What you must understand is that every person in every city does not work hard or produce wealth, and is an elitist, and likes to take the money of the “wealth-creators” in, uh, Mississippi, maybe, to fund 27th-trimester abortions and the spread of AIDS to puppies. This is what the “moral backbone of the country” hates; the populaces of such cities as New York, where every citizen works for AIG and takes money from the people who believe in free labor.
Now of course the following assumption has been creeping into the mainstream, and yet, how aggravating!: liberals and Democrats and anyone who does not live near a farm is happy about the multi-trillion dollar bailouts. This is the fundamental assumption of David Brooks’ column: that the “elites” who complain about teabaggers being retarded and racist somehow are delighted about government bailouts of major corporations who fucked up. Non-teabaggers don’t simply shout “STOP TAKIN MY MUNNIE YOU BLACK FAT CATS,” because many of them try to work with the various terrible choices this country has been left with, like responsible adults.
They are immoral and worse than racists, because they call people out on their racism when they see it, which makes them debate-stiflers and welfare queens, also.
Have a good weekend.
No, It’s Not About Race [NYT]