In his excellent article What If The Tea Party Were Black? Tim Wise wonders what America would do if black folk acted like the Tea Party.
I would rejoice.
Not that I'm fond of funny hats or misspelled signs or anything. What makes me smile about this fantasy is black people coming together and getting mad about shit. I want black folks to stop voting out of tired ideology and old allegiances that have yielded nothing but more empty promises. I want black people to get mad about the failure of government, the rewarding of greed, theft, dishonesty, immorality and stupidity.
Like them or not, the Tea Party has balls. I'm not joining but then again I'm a fierce independent and fiercer cynic. Still I like them because they dare to speak out. Even if it's loud, disassociated speaking out, at least they are doing it and not cowering in a corner and Waiting For Superman
"But Gary you say the Tea Party is crazy and racist! Didn't you hear them say it on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News?"
Yes, I did but when was the last time they all agreed on anything? And why do they agree on this?
Ladies and Gentlemen it's time for a little American History: (Cue Ragtime music)
"They are racist! They are nuts! They want to turn back the clock! They are for only the rich, elite, power-brokers and against the common man!"
These statements are not about the Tea Party but were said about the Democratic Party in the 1800's.
Later, In the 1850s, under the stress of the Fugitive Slave Act and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, two laws that perpetuated slavery, anti-slavery Democrats left the party, Joining with former members of existing or dwindling parties, the Republican Party emerged from this. They elected Lincoln and ended slavery. (Yeah, I know it's complicated but I don't have time to go into all that)
During this time, I can make the arguments that : A. the Democrats have presided over the biggest black prison population in the history of the world and have sided against a black President, and B. The Republicans have reversed the Civil Rights Movement and worked against black prosperity in general.
So, if the Tea Party is racist then: They are just like every other American Party at some point in history. And if they are not, then they are head and shoulders over both major parties.
Either way, the argument is bullshit.
But I understand it. If I had an enemy that threatened me, I'd use the super-guaranteed, all-purpose American badge of racism to stop them. We know it exists but it's never our fault or responsibility. It gets just about all the blacks to go along and allows white people to use those last vapors of racial guilt to stop their brains from working and blame some other white person. (End music)
So what would The Black Tea Party Do?
Well first we'd have much cooler hats. I wouldn't be caught dead in one of those three pointed jobs. Although I do dig the feathers! We can even have clever slogans like "We're AmeriCANS, not AmeriCANT'S!
To this end, prosperity religion must end. God wants my money? Are you serious? God wants me to give a man dressed in a $3,000 suit my hard earned cash. He wants me to be good and in return He will grant me grace and success on earth? People, does anyone really believe this? My father said life was God's only gift and your reward was in the next life. Who the hell said God was giving out grants and spiritual pay day loans? And didn't Jesus want his followers to give up all possession?
The "MoneyChurch" must end or it will end black people. You don't horse-trade with God and His Love is not an ATM machine that dispenses cash, jobs and husbands. If this life is hard, we made it that way and only because we have (say it with me) fallen short of His Glory.
We could also break away from the false notion of black liberalism. Black people are a mix of conservative and progressive values, just ask the gay marriage advocates in California. We are liberal on one main issue only, freedom. By and large, black folk believe in responsible government, family, faith and many other so-called conservative values. What we don't like is bullshit and there's plenty of that these days. Hey, there's another clever slogan: Black: The Opposite Of Bullshit.
Another great Black Tea Party reform could be the end of down low homosexuality. We could insist that if you're gay you come out or we force you out. This way no one has to be shamed and live in fear and any woman that wanted to be married to a man who also has sex with men could make that choice. The CDC and HIV Prevention Groups would love this as black women now lead in new AIDS cases in part because of this practice. We must be bigger, people. Some of the best and brightest in our race have been homosexual. If we took away their accomplishments and leadership, we'd probably still be slaves.
I know this one is very controversial but the Black Tea Party could also bring back real black music and good singers. We stop the singing and rapping about fuc--g and all the derogatory stuff against women. And if you can't do it, then you don't have a career. I hear they're hiring at Chick Fill-A. Oh yeah and no more autotune, dammit!
And lastly, we must reclaim our nobility. We used to be the beacon that led the way for America. Black people were always the ones who called it straight and had no reason to bullshit people. And because we were oppressed, we didn't want anyone else to be oppressed. We were nothing less than the conscious of the community, the living soul of America.
This is why so many Americans are mad at the President because they expected this and have, in their eyes, not seen it. A black woman at a town hall meeting humbled the President with her sincere and heartfelt disappointment.
We cannot continue to embrace this tired notion that we need to protect each others' failures, bad behavior, criminality, hypocrisy and bad singing. So often we feel that the lowered bar is all we have. You can turn lemons in to lemonade but you cannot turn wretchedness and self hate into prosperity, love and art. But maybe you can make some tea.