The Tea Party is often accused of racism and their members and elected officials argue against the allegation every chance they get. The reason why they are labeled as "racist" is because of the actions of many of their members. One Tea Party Republican from Nevada makes the perfect case.
Jim Wheeler, a Republican state assemblyman from Nevada, recently spoke to the Las Vegas Sun and made some alarming comments. A question was asked to Wheeler about whether he would vote to bring back slavery if his constituents asked him to. Wheeler response was, if nothing else, shocking.
“If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah, if that’s what the citizens of the, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for..That’s what a republic is about.”
Wheeler has been in office since he was elected in 2010 during the historic Republican mid term elections, but even Republicans are distancing themselves from the assemblyman. Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval took the first steps to criticize Wheeler, stating that his recent comments were “deeply offensive" and also noted that they have "no place in our society." The governor suggested that Wheeler re-track his comments and issue an apology.
Following the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the country's first African American president, racism and prejudice became a touchy subject. While many hoped that the racism gap in the United States was starting to close, it only proved that the country still has a long way to go.
Using code words and rhetoric that appeals to the traditional "southern confederate conservative," the Tea Party and many of their members rallied behind the common bond of not feeling comfortable with having an African American holding the top office in the United States. Shouts of "We want our country back!" and "Don't tread on me" were alleged cries of a growing out of control government, but the reality was clear. Not all Tea Party members or conservatives are racist, but the unfortunate truth is many racists are conservative Tea Party members.