Tea Party Leader Brags about Co-Opting Kelly Ingram Park

When I read that the Tea Party Express was coming to Kelly Ingram Park on Monday, I was horrified.  This is an overwhelmingly white movement whose express (excuse the pun) purpose is to de-legitimize the country’s first African-American president, and they were going to gather on the sacred space that served as a staging ground for the boycotts and protests of the civil rights movement.  After a bit of thought, I figured it was a purposeful choice, one intended to co-opt the spirit of a struggle for equality that actually cost people their livelihoods — and their lives.

Turns out I was right.  Tea party leader Mark Williams wrote about the location on his blog on Monday, noting

Could there be a better venue to celebrate our freedoms and rise to the defense of civil rights for all?  I hope that the symbolism is not lost on people but what happened there today would have to make Dr. King and the victims of  Bull Connor proud.

Williams includes, without a hint of irony, a picture of black protesters being sprayed with fire hoses in 1963 juxtaposed with a picture of Monday’s crowd — overwhelmingly white, enjoying the protection of the Birmingham police department, disrupted only by a tiny group of counter-protesters, and limited only by the ending time on their legal permit.

If Mr. Williams and his cohorts are so concerned about civil rights for all, why weren’t they protesting the warrantless wiretaps of the Bush administration?  Why didn’t they decry the “free speech zones”  for protesters and the characterization of dissent against Bush administration policies as treason?  Why aren’t they taking to the streets now to support marriage equality?

Oh, wait.  This is a man who titled a 2007 blog post about Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama “Hermaphrodite and the Halfrican” and who referred to New Orleans residents who died in Katrina as “genetic dead-ends”.  If he’s concerned about civil rights for all, I’m Glenn Beck.

h/t to Joe at Bessemer Opinions, whose post on the subject is here.

8 Responses to “Tea Party Leader Brags about Co-Opting Kelly Ingram Park”

  1. Helen Rivas says:

    I also see that the Tea Party Patriots are suing the “more moderate” (sure seemed ‘hyperenthusiastic’ on Monday) Tea Party Express, described as “a more corporate “astroturf” offshoot of the conservative Our Country Deserves Better PAC.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/12/tea-party-movement-comes_n_355445.html

    Spar away, folks!

  2. Kathy says:

    If the Tea Party Express is the more moderate of the two, I’d hate to think what kinds of things the TPPatriots leadership is saying.

  3. Don says:

    Joe at Bessemer Opinions wouldn’t have had his flag torn into shreds by the storm if he had followed the protocol for displaying Old Glory, as set forth in the US Code, Title 36, Section 174 c.

  4. Joe says:

    Don,
    I find it both strange and amusing that your comment is here on this site instead of on my site where the picture of my flag is. Don’t be afraid.

    My patriotism does not end at nightfall, nor when the wind blows, however.

  5. Don says:

    Joe, it’s not every day that someone finds something amusing, so count your blessings.

    I posted my comment here because I read Kathy’s blog every day, and if she hadn’t mentioned your site I wouldn’t have even known that you have one.

    That said, I apologize for not also posting my comment on your site; and I hope that in the future you will follow the law and take better care of Old Glory.

    Do you want me to post this on your site also?

  6. Kathy says:

    § 6. Time and Occasions for Display.

    (a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
    (b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
    (c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

    I’m just sayin’. Now back to the issue of Mark Williams and the Tea Party Express pretending to care about civil rights for all.

  7. Joe says:

    Kathy (and Don),
    At the link you provided, in the Frequently Asked Questions I also read this:

    “The Flag Code states:
    ‘The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.’

    “The language of this section reflects the now-popular use of flags made of synthetic fabrics that can withstand unfavorable weather conditions. It is not considered disrespectful to fly such a flag even during prolonged periods of inclement weather.”

    My flag was was made of synthetic, “100% Nylon” according to what is printed on the flag, so I was not being disrespectful by flying it during Ida.

  8. [...] as he and his teabagger friends piss on the sites of actual Civil Rights struggles. Here’s Kathy of Birmingham commenting on a blog post from Mark Williams from a while back: This is an overwhelmingly white movement whose [...]

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