Utne Blogs > Politics

Crackers and Tea

 by David Schimke

Tags: Election 2010, Tea Party, Race, Barack Obama, Village Voice, Steven Thrasher, politics, David Schimke,

Village Voice White America Cover“About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.”

So begins Steven Thrasher’s riotous take on the white brain, which, the New York-based freelance writer observes on the cover of the September 29 Village Voice, has finally gone “haywire in spectacular fashion.”

And why? Well, for one thing, the President of the United States is black, which isn’t sitting particularly well with prejudiced citizens who, Thrasher argues, are seeking cover in the Tea Party movement. What’s more, “for the first time in their lives, baby boomers are hard up against it economically, and white boy is becoming outnumbered and it’s got his bowels chilled with fear.”

Thrasher’s aggressive, albeit satiric tone will turn off most moderate readers and has enraged a legion of conservative and libertarian commentators. And, the Voice being the Voice, not one column inch is reserved for nuance. As a piece of political essay writing, however, “White America has Lost Its Mind” is as refreshing as it is well-argued. In large part because Thrasher has the audacity—and the forum—to take off the gloves and fight foment with foment. 

To bolster his thesis, the author points to recent polls conducted by Newsweek and CNN, which show that nearly a quarter of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim and that he was “probably or definitely” born in another country. And Harris found in an online poll that 14 percent of Americans believe the President is the antichrist, with nearly a quarter of Republicans saying so. Thrashers then goes on to give examples of how these statistics, which he believes are racially charged, manifest themselves in mainstream media and politics—from the sham attacks on ACORN to the demonization of Muslims and immigrants.

The funniest and most insightful stuff—especially considering that the midterm elections take place in just a few days—comes near the end of Thrasher’s tirade, where he wonders aloud who, except for the craziest of Caucasians, could excuse the ignorant rantings of New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino or Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell.

 As for the Tea Party, which is threatening to have a big night Tuesday?

Source: The Village Voice