The American Tea Party Movement which began in 2009 after President Barack Obama was elected, held its first convention during the weekend of October 8-9, 2010. It is considered by some to be a populist political movement.
On April 14, 2010, CBS News published the results of a survey conducted in conjunction with the New York Times of 1,580 adults, including 881 self-identified Tea Party supporters, to get a snapshot of the Tea Party movement. The survey found that 18 per cent of Americans identify as Tea Party supporters, of which 89 per cent are White and 1% are African-American. Three in four are 45 years old or older, including 29 per cent who are over 65 with more men (59 per cent) than women (41 per cent).
Thirty six per cent hail from the south, 25 per cent from the west, 22 per cent from the Midwest and 18 per cent from the northeast. The majority describe themselves as conservative with 39 per cent describing themselves as very conservative. Sixty per cent say they always or usually vote Republican. They are more likely than most American adults to attend religious services weekly (38 per cent) and to call themselves evangelical (39 per cent). Sixty-one per cent are Protestant and 22 per cent are Catholic. Fifty eight per cent keep a gun in the household.
The name “Tea Party” is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, a 1773 protest that was part of a movement throughout the 13 British colonies in America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773.
American colonists objected to the Tea Act because they believed that they should not have to pay taxes to the British government without the right to elect representatives to the British Parliament. The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists, dressed as Native Americans, boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbour.
The Boston Tea Party was the culmination of the resistance movement. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies, but in Boston, British Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain.
Although Hutchinson (1711-1780) was born in Boston, he was loyal to the British crown. Six months after the Boston Tea Party, Hutchinson sailed for Britain where he lived in exile until his death in 1780.
The group that has named itself after the Tea Act protesters of 1773 invited 15 speakers to their October 2010 convention. The speakers included two African-American men, Herman Cain and Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr.
Cain hosts “The Herman Cain Show” on Atlanta talk radio station News Talk 750 WSB and is a commentator for Fox News Business. In 2009, he founded a leadership consulting company “Hermanator’s Intelligent Thinkers Movement” (HITM). Cain is a Republican who attended Morehouse College (alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), one of 115 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the U.S.
Cain who has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse College and a master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University, is an associate Baptist minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta and is considering a run for president of the U.S. as the Republican candidate in 2012.
Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr. is the founder of Exodus Faith Ministries, a nondenominational ministry headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia with a satellite church in Boston, Massachusetts. The good Bishop, a Republican, is very unhappy with the politics of African-American Democrats and is declaring political war on the Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
He reportedly said of the two groups: “It is a Coalition of the Godless. Black Christians do not belong in a coalition of the Godless, and should not vote for those who are”. On July 4, 2009, Jackson founded the organization, Staying True to America’s National Destiny (S.T.A.N.D.), which he describes as “a national grassroots organization dedicated to restoring America’s Judeo-Christian history, faith and values and preserving its Christian culture. Its signature project is establishing January as “American History Month, a time for celebrating the nobility of our nation’s founding and history”.
Jackson, who is a 1978 graduate of Harvard Law School and practiced law for several years, believes that he has a mission to unify Americans around the Judeo-Christian principles “which can save our country, because they are the principles which built it”.
It is astonishing that this African-American man, the descendant of Africans who were enslaved in America thinks that he should trumpet the “Judeo-Christian history and values which make America great” and he subscribes to the belief that “we must again celebrate our Judeo-Christian foundations”. This is a serious case of someone under a cloud of the “the illusion of inclusion”.
The irony of these two African-American men attending and speaking at the convention of a group of mostly White people who hate the thought of an African-American family living in the White House is overwhelming. Some Tea Party members are practically foaming at the mouth with hate – complete with their rabidly racist signs and comments. On March 20, 2010, two African-American congressmen, Andre Carson (Democrat-Indiana) and John Lewis (Democrat-Georgia, and an activist of the Civil Rights Movement), reported being spit on by a group of Tea Party members who were also chanting “the N-word, the N-word, 15 times”.
The fact that a seemingly educated and intelligent African-American can forget his history and write: “We are bringing this country back to our Constitution and Godly values. Jesse, Sharpton and the NAACP can get on board or get out of the way” is beyond sad. The honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey said: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
It is very possible that the good African-American gentlemen who spoke at the Tea Party Movement convention do not know that their ancestors were taken from the African continent and enslaved by the good Christian White people who “laid the foundations of Judeo-Christian history and values that make America great”. It is also very possible that they do not know about the backlash on October 17, 1901 after President Theodore Roosevelt invited African-American educator Booker T. Washington to the White House for dinner on October 16.
They need to read the words written in the October 17, 1901 edition of the Memphis Scimitar and then take a second look at that coiled, poised-to-attack serpent they have embraced (Tea Party symbol). The Tea Party Movement has bamboozled some African-Americans into thinking that it is a movement exercising the democratic right to criticize an American government with which they disagree.
However the words written in the October 17, 1901 edition of the Memphis Scimitar is a more accurate reflection of the mindset behind the rise of the Tea Party Movement: “The most damnable outrage which has ever been perpetrated by any citizen of the United States was committed yesterday by the President, when he invited a n _ _ ger to dine with him at the White House.”
Imagine the rage of the American Tea Party Movement, the descendants of the people who wrote those words in October 1901, that in 2010 African-Americans live in the White House as America’s First Family.