By: Harold Michael Harvey
I’ve never been one to reach a snap judgment. I think I got this trait from my grandfather Charlie. He would ponder a thing in silence for several days, and then he would speak with such clarity and strength of purpose you just knew he was taking the family on the right course.
On tax day last week I ventured out to downtown Atlanta as a citizen journalist covering Atlanta’s version of Fox News’ reality Television - Tax Day Tea Bag Party. What struck me the most about being at this rally was the anger expressed by the speakers and applauds given by the crowd. I filed an eyewitness account that centered on the anger coming from this crowd. Many of my friends wrote to express their relief that I was not injured.
Let me hasten to add, I was never in any danger of physical harm. The anger I wrote about was not out of any threats directed at me or the one other African American I saw among these gatherers of essentially tax and Obama protesters. This anger was directed towards the government of the United States of America.
Speaker after speaker made it clear, in no uncertain terms, they were feed up with the American system of governance and recommended toppling the government and its president. I used the term angry white people because save for the other brother and myself there were no other ethnic groups represented. And it is a dangerous thing when a small band of white people come together over an emotional issue or dislike for the behavior of someone else. Similar to the scenario I related about the mob set on vengeance that descended upon Grandfather Charlie’s farm in the mid 1950's.
I’ve mulled over and over what I witness on the steps of the State Capitol the past five days. I have read and seen news accounts of the Tax Day Tea Bag Party from both liberal and conservative news sources. Many of them have missed the boat and miscalculated the source of leadership that drives this continuous protest and the impact it can have on our system.
While the crowd roared their approval of the populist rhetoric of Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, John Oxendine, using "Twitter", I tweeted: “This is a dangerous crowd.” He urged the crowd to take the government back in a similar fashion I’d heard George Wallace do in Ozark, Alabama 38 years ago. This statement was dangerous.
Just five months ago the government held national elections for Congress, Senators, and a President. The will of the people was clear. It wanted a new direction. It wanted Barrack Obama to get the economy moving again, it wanted him to solve the banking crises, it wanted him to tackle the housing and automotive crises. In short the will of the people said it wanted a sharp departure from the policies of the Bush White House.
Say what? Less than 100 days in office and this angry mob of upper class Yankee carpetbaggers gathered at the State Capitol were urging either an overthrow of the government or succeeding from it as was done in 1860. Speaker after speaker harped upon the legendary Boston Tea Party theme of “Taxation without representation.” Obviously, oblivious to the fact they had a vote and when all votes were counted their side lost.
You can’t reason with a mob, which makes one like this one so dangerous. None of the traditional political analysis works with this group. Government is not responsive to their interest period and thus it must of necessity be abolished. This is the anarchist rationale. The Left, last year, used traditional constitutional means to get the government they wanted. The conservative right posit the constitution is not working and therefore government actions should be ignored, therefore, don’t accept any stimulus money for the unemployed, because “we don’t help the unemployed in our State.” This mob objected to the government cramming stimulus money down their throats, similar to my junior high school classmates objecting to me being crammed down their throats four decades ago.
Let’s make no mistake about it; this mob is not controlled by the Republican Party. It is essentially leaderless at the grass roots level. It is waiting for a George Wallace to captivate its attention, energy and sooth its wounded feeling over losing the election last Fall. Yet the puppeteer’s hands that pulls the strings, perhaps is none other than Rupbert Murdroch, a media mogul from down under who does not have an equitable stake in American democracy as operators of other media outlets do. Mr. Murdroch is on Fortune’s 25 Most Powerful People In Business list. At age 76 he is the Chairman and CEO of News Corporation. His empire spans film, television, print and online (he owns MySpace). He bought the Dow Jones for $5 billion and last year acquired the Wall Street Journal. His goal is to create a globe-spanning financial news powerhouse.
This ambition in and of itself is not troubling, save for the fact when you consider that everything is political from the news we view, to the taxes we pay and the profits we make, you realize the enormous “skin” Mr. Murdroch has invested in the American market.
His business and political moves are worth watching; as well as, this group of Americans, who feels their government does not look like them and suddenly wants to tax their profits.
There is trouble in the land my friends and it has less to do with the state of the economy, than it has to do with an end run around the constitutional safeguards put in place in 1789.
© April 20, 2009