More than a few seemingly earnest attempts have been made by the Republicans and the Tea Partiers (which are, as it turns out, the same thing in the end) to deflect accusations that their ranks are riddled with racists. No, our contempt and rage and vitriol has nothing to do with our Black President, or his African family heritage, or his last name. No, no, we just hate health care reform and stuff. No, really.
Ask the folks in Virginia how much this rings true. Virginia Beach is the hometown of the state's current Republican Governor, Bob McDonnell, whose love of all things historic motivated him to blow off the darker aspects of the slavery era in the South by declaring April to be Confederate History Month. The move was widely condemned by civil rights organizations, but boy howdy, did it ever endear McDonnell to the GOP base, as well as the Tea Party (which, again, are the same thing).
The Governor isn't the only denizen of Virginia Beach to enjoy a bout of good old-fashioned race-baiting. A few months back, a fellow named Dave Bartholomew, who is the chairman of the Virginia Beach Republican Party, came across a nifty little email that he thought spoke some heavy truths. Rather than keep the little gem to himself, Bartholomew forwarded it far and wide via his party chair email address. The content of the email read:
I went down this morning to sign up my Dog for welfare.
At first the lady said, "Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare".
So I explained to her that my Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is.
So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify...
My Dog gets his first check Friday.
Is this a great country or what?
Nah, not racist.
The best part, for me, is Bartholomew's defense for his actions (after getting caught, of course): he forwarded it without reading it because "he was first getting familiar with the Internet." Yup, that makes sense. It makes so much sense, in fact, that Bartholomew resigned almost immediately after his brand of humor became public, rather than become a "distraction" for the midterm elections.
Yes, Dave, this is a great country.
So great, in fact, that organizations seeking to register voters and organize early voting for the upcoming elections are getting lambasted by Tea Party groups with racist and threatening emails. The most recent example of this has been taking place in Houston, where the group Houston Votes has received a pile of emails from Tea Party activists attacking them for perpetrating "voter fraud." The emails leave nothing to the imagination...with, of course, all magical spelling intact:
"You liberial scumbags should be hung by the neck in public ! We are on to your voter fraud. Keep it up you MOTHER FUCKERS and you will soon be put down for a long dirt nap! Your nothing but a bunch of white guilt ridden assholes, NIGGERS and greasy mexican spics! The WAR is comming and we are going to dispose of each and every one of you while we take OUR (White) nation back."
There was also this:
"Citizen's from all over Texas will be coming to Houston to watch you fraudulent Marxist pigs. Be forewarned, you will be watched at every turn, and your corrupt Marxist organization will be targeted!"
"I see you're all into fraud. Why do you want to change Texas? You want it to be like a third-world nation? Texas is great - and you want to change it into a third world state. No thank you. Your fraud won't work. You were caught red handed. Live with it. We know all about it."
And, of course, this:
"i hope everyone of you American hating A-holes are thrown in prison for cheating our country and trying to assure socialism.GO TO HELL."
The Tea Party group behind this calls itself the King Street Patriots, and they have apparently dedicated themselves to protecting the purity of the vote in Texas. So dedicated are they, in fact, that the Justice Department has begun gathering information on the King Street Patriots amid allegations that the group has been intimidating voters, messing with poll workers, and disrupting lines of voters once early voting got underway. According to witnesses, this Tea Party harassment has been taking place in Black and Hispanic voting districts exclusively.
Try to contain your shock.