A newly issued report, backed by the NAACP, backs what investigators at the Southern Poverty Law Center have said for months now–that white nationalist groups and militias are making specific efforts to link themselves to the tea party movement. These ongoing efforts continue despite some efforts by tea party leaders to expel members for racist comments and emails.
National tea party representatives have dismissed the report as lacking credibility and insist that the core values of the movement–limited government, fiscal responsibility and support of the free market–are inherently free of racial tones. But those dismissals clash with efforts by other national tea party leaders, like Roan Garcia-Quintana, a state Senate candidate in South Carolina and former media spokesman for the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party who has come out publicly against “quotas that discriminate against whites” and has embraced an anti-immigration platform.
NAACP leaders made clear that the report was not a broad-based attack on the tea party and insist that this is an opportunity for the libertarian roots of the movement to finally and effectively repudiate and expel the racist elements in their midsts. In fact, the NAACP compared the report, and the group’s efforts to draw attention to white nationalists trying to infiltrate mainstream political groups, to similar challenges made against both Democrats and Republicans.
In large degrees the report represents just how challenged this country remains when tackling issues of racial prejudice. There’s no doubt that many on the far-right truly embrace values of limited government in all aspects, but their voices have been largely drowned out by the birthers and anti-immigrant xenophobes who have found a home in this coalition.
photo courtesy of Fibonaciblue via Flickr