Update – 8/20/2011 – After exchanging several emails with Yale I am satisfied that what appeared to me to be an anti-immigrant bias is actually a strong personal dislike for a candidate. It seems that there is a history between Yale and Tito and their relationship has soured of late. I still take issue with Yale’s use of the Prince William TEA Party email address that he decided to use to show his dissatisfaction with an endorsement on this blog. This would have been perfectly acceptable under his own name, but it was an inappropriate statement on behalf of an entire TEA Party Group, unless they voted to do so. As someone who has worked hard to make sure all things related to TEA Party events and actions are reported accurately, I am also on the lookout for potential trouble spots. Prince William has a reputation as being rather inhospitable to Hispanics, that is simply a fact. I am in absolute agreement with the county’s stance on illegal aliens. But some of their methods unfairly target legal immigrants. That is the perception, and as a non-Hispanic I cannot personally testify to the validity of that statement. But there is anecdotal evidence. This appears to be a race that has become rather ugly with heated rhetoric on all sides, but to answer the question I posed in the headline “Has Anti-Immigrant Racism Reared it’s Ugly Head in the Prince William TEA Party?” I can happily say NO! That is not the case.
- Tom White
Regular readers of this blog know we are highly supportive of all things TEA Party. It is the most important movement to arise on the American political landscape in over 200 years. And it is not unexpected that those on the left would use lies and distortions and any means necessary to discredit and harm a movement that supports a return to the Founding Principles of limited government and personal accountability. These things are in direct opposition to their socialist and Progressive agenda.
And I have personally defended the TEA Party against the most egregious of these lies – racism. And have stated many times that the TEA Party is NOT racist. And that was the absolute truth.
Until I heard from Yale Schiffman of the Prince William TEA Party, which was founded by his wife, Nancy.
This morning I received a request from the Prince William TEA Party to be removed from Virginia Right’s Daily Digest, our 5AM email with all of the stories of the past 24 hours.
Prince William has a reputation as an area hostile to Hispanics because of their aggressive enforcement of immigration laws and policies. This post does not speak to the validity of that claim nor is it a comment on the their policies. It is just pointed out as background. By way of example, read this recent and randomly Googled post. And suffice it to say that there is a perception of an anti-Hispanic culture in the county.
Last night, Virginia Right! endorsed Tito Munoz for the Virginia Senate Primary race in the 36th District.
This morning the Prince William TEA Party sent a request to be removed from the Daily Digest, which I promptly did. Now if this were an individual I would have simply responded with the simple message “done” and that would be the end of it. And you can remove yourself, so sending a request is not necessary (unless you want to make sure we know you are leaving).
But this wasn’t an individual, this was a TEA Party group. We are happy to count among the subscribers to Virginia Right! a number of TEA Party organizations from all over the country. Many of them are also involved in fighting Agenda 21 and ICLEI, Islam being pushed in schools, and a number of common interest areas. Sharing thoughts and ideas is something most find helpful.
So I added to the “done” response a question: “Is there a problem?”
I was really hoping that a single endorsement of a candidate born in Columbia was not the impetus behind the request from a TEA Party group in an area already treading on rather thin ice with questionable motives towards Hispanics. One would assume that the leaders of the PWTP would avoid even the appearance of bias given the sensitive nature of the issue in that area.
Sadly, this was the response:
Yes, there is. Your endorsement of Tito.Yale
Now I can’t say for sure what motivated Yale to take a rather drastic measure over one endorsement. As an individual, that is one thing. But when speaking for an entire TEA Party group (the subscription was in the name of the Prince William TEA Party) you are representing a number of people with diverse views, I would assume.
Yale has found some of the stories we exposed on Virginia Right! to be worthy of expounding upon, such as his admonishment from an Islamic group for speaking about the SOL debacle we broke on Virginia Right!. Apparently he has seen some value in our work, which is why we do this.
And he is free to leave a comment, give his opinion, debate the virtues of his favorite candidate, or even offer an Op Ed. I welcome debate and differing opinions. That is our purpose.
But to make what amounts to a public statement that Virginia Right! is now persona non grata to the entire Prince William TEA Party by virtue of one endorsement is at best poor leadership.
Is this a blatant act of racism? That is impossible to say. But one thing is certain, this is exactly the kind of thing that those on the left will be only too happy to exploit. If it is not outright racism, then it does have the appearance of racism. And that is all they need.
And I bring this up because actions and thoughtless leadership like this can give the entire TEA Party movement a bad name. I can honestly say that the TEA Party groups I am involved with are not racist. And if they were, I consider it my duty to call them out. The TEA Party works best (and only) when it is focused on the Constitution, small government and individual liberty. And individual liberty does not mean only if you agree with people like Yale.
In the grand scheme of things, the Prince William TEA Party is but a small part of the TEA Party movement. But we are only as strong as our weakest link. When you carry the banner of your local TEA Party group, you have been entrusted with a great deal of responsibility. And part of that responsibility is to the group as a whole. We are only as strong as our weakest link.
And while I won’t go so far as to say the Prince William TEA Party is racist or anti-immigrant, I will say that Yale acted in a manner that can be construed as racist or at least anti-immigrant. And as far as I am aware, this was a decision by Yale alone and not reflective of the Prince William TEA Party as a whole. And I do not pretend to know what is in Yale’s heart. Tito’s opponent was born in America, but also has a Hispanic heritage. But Tito is a Naturalized Citizen. A legal immigrant.
But to my Brothers ans Sisters in the Prince William TEA Party, let me say that a few bad actions can tarnish the entire TEA Party movement if we are not vigilant. You might want to rethink those who are leading your group and carrying the banner of the Prince William TEA Party. A true leader would have made a reasoned response, not a knee jerk reaction.
You guys really need to be watchful here, for all our sakes.