Tea Party Group Compares Obama to Hitler, Hurts Own Cause07.15.10
Less than a day after Sarah Palin blasted the NAACP for blasting the Tea Party groups as “racists,” a billboard in Iowa has been taken down for its depiction of President Obama as being in the same vein as Hitler and Lenin. The billboard – which displayed pictures of Hitler, Obama, and Lenin – was ordered by the North Iowa Tea Party.
In response to the universal outcry, North Iowa Tea Party co-founder Bob Johnson agreed that the billboard was offensive, saying that the imagery took away from the intended message of being anti-socialism:
“They are absolutely right in their criticism because the image of Hitler just totally wiped everything else and it misrepresents the tea party movement. They were right from the standpoint that the image was not a positive reflection on the tea people.”
Okay, so critics weren’t right in that the North Iowa Tea Party’s assertion that Obama is a leader on par with two of the worst human beings of the 20th century is beyond absurd and offensive and wrong; rather, the use of that imagery simply didn’t reflect positively on the tea people. It’s not that they’re wrong, mind you. Just that by being so blasphemous, they made themselves look bad. That’s quite the mea culpa, Johnson.
As for my earlier reference to Sarah Palin defending the Tea Party groups as not being racist: in her note, she quotes South Carolina GOP congressional candidate Tim Scott, who said that
“the NAACP is making a grave mistake in stereotyping a diverse group of Americans who care deeply about their country and who contribute their time, energy and resources to make a difference.”
On the surface, yes, this is a compliment to the people who make up the various tea parties; but, these characteristics are not mutually exclusive. One can be racist and still contribute plenty of time, energy, and resources to make a difference in our society. It’s the nature of what kind of difference they’re seeking to make that should be questioned; not their efforts. People can care deeply about their country – or any number of things, for that matter – yet be misguided in their ways of showing that affection. Simply saying that you’re doing something out of love, even if harmful or flat wrong, doesn’t excuse anything.
True, posting a billboard depicting Obama as a peer of Hitler and Lenin doesn’t mean that they’re racists — in fact, it’s asserting that Obama himself is a racist, which they very well may believe. Perhaps the North Iowa Tea Party group posted this out of plain ignorance, not understanding the vast differences between Nazism and Leninism, but also not realizing that the political philosophy they accused Obama of espousing is called democratic socialism, not “democrat socialism.”
But, even if that were true, they still have no one to blame but themselves for the way people view their organization and their cause. When you want to be taken seriously, you don’t go down the lowest (highest?) road of hyperbole and compare someone to Hitler. Unless someone has systematically eradicated nearly an entire population of human beings and invaded numerous countries causing a world war, there should never even be a remote comparison between the two.
This isn’t the first time that a tea party group has likened Obama to Hitler (see above picture), and I’m sure that it won’t be the last. It seems that Johnson and other tea party group founders should learn to focus on the real, everyday issues about which they feel the most passionate to change rather than marginalizing themselves with images like on this ridiculous billboard. They have a chance to voice their opinion and let people know just what they’re truly about, to prove the haters wrong, to show that they are about actual policy issues, that they’re not racists or extremists, and this is what they come up with: more than just a failed opportunity to change the opinions of many Americans; this is the sort of thing that reaffirms people’s already negative feelings toward the entire movement.
Unless of course the current sentiments about the tea party groups that Palin and others fervently defend against really are warranted. In which case, they should just keep the billboard up and own the backlash because if that’s what they’re really about, have the courage to stand behind it. (Plus, for being so against wasteful spending, you’d think that this group wouldn’t blow their hard-earned cash on such a self-damning sign.)
Photo courtesy of elviskennedy’s Flickr Photostream
Posted in American Culture, Politics | Tagged american politics, anti-socialism, Barack Obama, billboard, bob johnson, hitler, lenin, north iowa tea party, Obama, Politics, President Obama, Racism, racists, Sarah Palin, sarah palin defends tea party, Tea Party, tea party anti-socialists, tea party group, tea party racists |
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