I always defended the Tea Party against charges of racism. And then last week, someone with whom I am Facebook “friends” posted something extremely racist and I called her out on it. Immediately, her friends jumped down my throat, calling me a liberal and saying I wasn’t a real tea partier, despite the fact that I was one of 10 people on the first Tea Party conference calls back in January of 2009.
That was just one of many wake-up calls.
Sadly, what began as a genuine opportunity to make this country more free has deteriorated to racist name calling, fear of anyone with brown skin, and an irrational focus on Sharia law.
A chance for Libertarians to reform the GOP
Nobody has been a bigger supporter of the Tea Party than I have been.
In Orlando, I think we had one of the best organized groups. Along with Cincinnati and Houston, Orlando was one of the cities that saw the biggest rallies, the most active tea partiers, and attracted the biggest names to speak at our events. When the left would point to the one nut-job in a crowd of 6,000 with a racist sign and call all 6,000 people racists, the more Libertarian tea partiers like me, would always use ourselves and our groups as examples of of the real, average tea partier.
I always felt like the Tea Party was going to be the chance for Libertarians to do two things:
First, I thought it was a golden opportunity to show Republicans the hypocrisy of their platform.
Secondly, I thought it was a great chance for us to talk to apolitical, independent folks who were genuinely angry about the bank bailouts: folks who work for a living or own a small business and felt like, “hey, I employ 25 people and no one is going to bail me out. To hell with GM and Lehman Brothers!”
Go to The Grio to read more about “A movement hijacked by the political and religious right” told by Phil Russo
Phil Russo is a conservative activist, radio host and campaign consultant. Follow him on Twitter, handle is @Libertas1776.