By comparing the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan, Democratic Representative Alan Grayson of Florida has incurred the wrath of the former and has generated a firestorm of controversy that even has fellow Democrats and Progressives asking him to retract his insinuation. Should he?
His is unquestionably a scathing withering characterization of the Tea Party. But Mr. Grayson is not wilting under the fiercely negative blowback he is getting from the Center and the
Left in his own party. Nevertheless, is what he implies indefensible? Or is there a kernel of truth in it , despite its hyperbole and intemperance?
Though not on the same rhetorical level as a Demosthenes , a Cicero, or a Jeremiah, Grayson has not hesitated to level inflammatory denunciations at the obstructionism of the Republican Party, the latest example of which being its all-out campaign to besmirch and destroy the Affordable Care Act. Certainly, the Republican attacks on President Obama have gone beyond policy. They have been viciously personal, almost without parallel. And the racial component of these savage attacks is undeniable. Most recently, a Tea Party group outside the White House waved the Confederate flag. And the Internet has been awash with racial epithets denouncing the president ever since he was first elected.
It is outrageous and reprehensible, but it is existentially true that on the Right, racial bigotry is rife and palpable.
An analogy does not have to have a perfect one-to-one correspondence. That would be an identity. For an analogy to be valid, there needs to be a strong similarity in kind. Racial bigotry is at the core of both the Tea Party and the Klan. The only difference between the two is in degree.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. If the Tea Party is insulted by and fuming over Grayson's analogy, then it is time it unequivocally condemns the racial hatred and discrimination that has infected its grassroots adherents
Filed under: politics