A Washington Post reporter caught a tea partier in a rather extraordinary moment of honesty today.
Follow me below the fold for the quote that should be heard around the world.
Quoting a participant at today's anti-tax rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, the WaPo reportedon what a protester, Jerry Johnson, a 58 year-old lawyer from Berryville, Virginia, had to say about why he was there and why he opposes President Obama (emphases added):
"I came here because of what I see going on in this country," he said. "We're bankrupt in America. We can't run our households like the government's running the country. That, and the idea of people [sitting] around on their butts. Fifty percent of the people collecting a check are paying no taxes, while the other fifty pull the wagon."
He said he "worked my way up from nothing" and was not about to allow "somebody else to reach in my pocket and just take it away and give to somebody laying on their ass."
Johnson expressed opposition to President Obama. "It's not just because he's black," he said. "I wish I could tell you that I loved this guy, that he was a great president, that I had faith in him. But I have none. Zero."
This isn't going to come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the development of the Tea Party movement. And just recently, a study by researchers at the University of Washington found a strong correlation between white racial resentment and tea party participation.
Maybe in the big picture it isn't so extraordinary that Mr. Johnson admitted to a reporter from a major newspaper that a large part of his opposition to President Obama is based on race. After all, participants at many tea party rallies have carried amazingly offensive signs out in the open, seemingly with no shame.
But maybe Mr. Johnson will help the continual erosion of this myth that race is not one of the number one motivating factors for the tea partiers? I mean, even though I give the WaPo credit for actually running his statement, the reporter is otherwise happy to present the tea partiers at face value when they claim to be protesting "excessive taxation" (as quoted from the article's headline on the WaPo's website). Perhaps they didn't read Kos's post on this topic today?
Let's face it: most of them are not out there to protest taxes, or, at least, that's not the only reason (or even the main reason). Mr. Johnson just gave a nice window into their thinking: "It's not just because he's black." But it sure is a big reason, isn't it?