My friend Ali A. Akbar found Morgan Freeman’s recent comments about the Tea Party to be quite disturbing, and as a Tea Party activist, has challenged Morgan Freeman to experience a Tea Party rally.
I’ve attended dozens of tea party events. I’ve helped organize them, and I’ve even spoken at a few. The tea party is not what is often depicted in the news. It is people of all colors who are terribly concerned about the direction that America is heading. We don’t trust big government to make decisions for us. And we fear that the present administration’s spending is going to lead our country down a path to insolvency, much like what Greece is currently facing.
Your comments about the tea party have caused me physical pain. You’ve rekindled the old painful paradigm of Uncle Tom – that any black man who votes Republican is some kind of sellout. It’s not true. I work hard, pay my taxes, love Jesus, and I’m good to my family and community. In effect, your comments have stereotyped an entire group of people. And I know in my soul that you must regret that on some level.
There’s already plenty of groupthink among American blacks. Over 90% of us vote Democrat with religious regularity, and we have been doing so for over fifty years. For a short time, I was one of them. I realized a few years ago that the Democrats’ promises of equality bestowed by government wasn’t working and will never work. I came to believe that redistributionist policies with the goal of social justice was essentially creating a new plantation within the federal government. Scraps might be thrown our way, but dependence on the plantation would be the inevitable result.
I urge you to read Ali’s entire piece.
Ali and I have been good friends for quite a few years now, and our backgrounds are very different. Even our politics, while at the conservative end of the spectrum, are different. I dare say that if we reviewed all of our positions he’d probably be more conservative than I am. However we got to where we are politically, our beliefs are genuinely our own. We both believe enough in our politics to have walked the walk and not just talked the talk. And it is a shame that celebrities like Morgan Freeman or Janeane Garofalo use their celebrity to stereotype roughly half of Americans and insult minorities just because they don’t conform to their close minded belief that black Americans are traitors to their race if they lean to the right, or that Republicans are inherently racist. Those attitudes do more to hurt race relations in this country than they realize.
I’d like to see Morgan Freeman take up Ali’s offer to attend a Tea Party event in Tennessee. Perhaps a little open-mindedness can usher in a new era of civility.