If certain Tea Partiers and Tea Party groups have come under fire for alleged racism, it may be due to the fact they’ve couched their opposition to the Obama Administration personally. They don’t just oppose the Administration, they oppose the man himself. This is what happens when persons, especially on the Right, still believe in the Cult of the Presidency.
The Cult, as we know, is where people believe the President is more than just the leader of the Executive Branch of government, as embodied in the Constitution. They believe he embodies all their hopes and dreams and personifications and can also win wars and stop oil spills in a single bound. It the Cult that led to the Clinton-bashing years of the right from 1992-2000 where, despite accused of murder, theft and rape, Clinton is still an important figure politically whose wife is Secretary of State while the Right suffers from lack of new ideas because activists, think tankers, pundits and writers spent most of their time, money and energy on hunt for the White Whale rather than offering coherent critiques on Clintonism. (The exact opposite took place in the last decade as the Right spent most its time acting as the Bush Administration’s Praetorian Guard.) Sadly, the same phenomenon is happening again and the fact Obama is half-black make such attacks even more difficult because the boundaries are even more narrow.
And yet when we realize, from the recent Washington Post series on the enormous secret government interlocking with big business that has risen in the wake of 9-11, the President himself as a person is dwarfed by the system that surrounds him. Whether its all the intelligence agencies that have been created since 9-11 (and I thought the whole reason 9-11 took place was the problem of too many intelligence agencies) or military-industrial complex, the President in reality, instead of being a wundermenschen may well very be just prisoner in his own palace. The system has a way of multiplying and acting upon its own wishes, forcing our leaders down the roads it wishes they would go, offering choices only it lays out, creating boundaries and structures of government that are sacrosanct. This is what Eisenhower feared would happen. This may be true for Bush II and Obama, it may be have been true for any number of Presidents.
If Tea Partiers focused their critiques and attacks to the system (or big government, the military-industrial complex or the empire, or the establishment whatever you want to call it) itself instead of the figureheads engulfed in it, then maybe such charges of racism, while probably not going away, will become ridiculous and maybe more and more people who also feel that their government has become the grotesque spawn of both fear and power and wealth will become Tea Partiers rather than be put off by them.