With the exception of a couple of speakers, the recent Tea Party tent was noticeably devoid of diversity at Saturday’s rally. The planners had every right to hold the Rally on the very same day and the very same spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Why, shucks, a niece of Dr. King was present to provide a certain amount of legitimacy – albeit almost non-existent – to the notion that the Tea Party has a big tent of diversity. Here is a snippet from Alveda King, Dr. King’s niece, as she explains why she chose to speak at the Rally:
“I will talk about honor and character and sacrifice. I will be joined by those who represent the diversity of the human race.”
I have to wonder what she was thinking as she gazed out on a sea of white faces. Did she mean that she would be joined in spirit? Did she mean a diversity of opinion from the rally goers? For, connection by the physical presence of a diverse crowd was painfully lacking.
Yet, the lack of diversity really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The demographics of the Tea Party reflect a make-up of Republican, white, older, educated, higher-income males. While women and youngsters are members, they are outnumbered by the vociferous males who despise President Obama and his policies.
The Tea Party will continue to hold rallies to stir up anger and angst at the current president. No amount of rhetoric and double-speak will cover its true agenda. The Tea Party is about despising Barack Obama and his policies – nothing more, nothing less.
When the economy picks up – and it will – when the health care bill benefits become apparent – and they will – when all is said and done – the Tea Party will slowly fade into history just as so many other flash-in-the-pan movements have done – or perhaps it will hang around on the fringes and cause some uproar every now and then.
But the Tea Party movement will never rise beyond that of being a movement. It will not become a party with which to reckon – no candidates, no platform, no ideas – only anger. Its role in the current political climate simply is to agitate and drive the Republican party father and farther to the right until the edge of the cliff looms in the Republican Party’s future.
Political parties need diversity, and, they ultimately need moderation. As Alveda King scanned the crowd at the rally, how could she be so blind as to not see the Tea Party’s inability to understand and its complete disregard for the demographics of our Nation – a disregard that will make the Tea Party a virtual loser in the long run.