Why the Tea Party Would Love a White Eric Garner

Peter Beinart points out the reasons why the Tea Party types would love Eric Garner, the man killed by an illegal choke hold used by the NYPD officer, if he were white. Every element of the story feeds directly into Tea Party ideology — except the color of his skin.

Imagine that Eric Garner had been white. Imagine that he’d been living in Idaho. Imagine that the law-enforcement officers who killed him had been federal agents.

His death would be a Tea Party crusade.

Think about it. The police hassled Garner because he had a history of selling untaxed cigarettes. It’s the kind of big-government intrusion that drives Tea Partiers nuts. One of the events that helped launch the Tea Party, in fact, came in January 2009, when activists from Young Americans for Liberty donned American Indian garb to protest the soda taxes proposed by then-New York Governor David Patterson…

The Garner case bears some resemblance to that of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who this spring prevented Bureau of Land Management agents from impounding his cattle after he refused to pay government grazing fees. Like Garner, Bundy was engaged in a form of commerce he believed the government should not tax. Like Garner, Bundy resisted law enforcement’s efforts to punish him for it. For many conservatives, this made Bundy a hero and the government that sought to penalize him a tyranny. Right-wing activists, including some Republican legislators, flocked to Bundy’s ranch as he stared down federal agents, and Nevada Senator Dean Heller dubbed these vigilantes “patriots.” “At the heart of this issue,” declared Fox’s Sean Hannity, is “my belief that our government is simply out of control.” Ted Cruz called the Bundy affair “the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on” in which “we have seen our constitutional liberties eroded.”

To imagine how Fox News would be reacting right now had Garner been white, rural, and facing the feds, you need only imagine how it would have reacted had a BLM agent shot Bundy dead.

To be fair, some conservatives, including Glenn Beck, have spoken out against the injustice of what happened to Garner, but for the most part it’s been crickets. What did Fox News put up as the main story on their website the night that the grand jury decided not to indict the officer who choked him to death? Benghazi. Of course.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    But, but, Benghazi!!eleventy1!!!.

    (Just wanted to beat what’s his name to you usual comment.)

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Imagine that Eric Garner had been white. Imagine that he’d been living in Idaho. Imagine that the law-enforcement officers who killed him had been federal agents. His death would be a Tea Party crusade.

    Sounds like Ruby Ridge, which WAS a Tea-Party crusade long before they were calling themselves the Tea Party.

    When Trayvon Martin was killed, those wunnerful folks at Fox & Friends came up with a story of a white Trayvon. It was nowhere near an exact parallel, so they had to twist a few facts, omit others, and add more shrill hysteria for flavor. I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before they do the same thing with this latest incident.

  • raven

    So true.

    Christian zealot beheads teen for practicing witchcraft

    www. patheos. com/…/2014/…/christian-zealot-beheads-teen-for-practicin…

    Christian zealot beheads teen for practicing witchcraft. October 30, 2014 by Michael Stone 2578 Comments. Christian terror? In a grisly murder an Oklahoma college student with strong Christian beliefs nearly decapitates a young man …

    1. A Moslem guy gets fired in Oklahoma and beheads someone in a case of workplace violence. Right wingnuts scream terrorism for weeks after.

    2. A xian guy in Oklahoma beheads a guy for “practicing witchcraft”. Dead silence. This story barely made the local news, didn’t make the national news that I saw, and was promptly forgotten.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I’m surprised they didn’t have more Garner coverage. I mean, he was one of the 47% who don’t pay taxes.

  • raven

    Huffpo:

    Investigators said McQuilliams left no note describing a specific motive or why he picked his targets. However, inside his van investigators found a copy of “Vigilantes of Christendom,” a 1990 book associated with the Christian Identity movement known as the Phineas Priesthood. The shadowy sect holds religious beliefs against banking, abortion and a strong central government and espouses anti-Semitic and racist views. The book describes the Phineas Priesthood as Christian guerrillas who avenge Judeo-Christian traitors. Inside the book was a handwritten note that referred to McQuilliams as a “priest in the fight against anti-God people,” Acevedo said.

    Here is another one.

    Some xian terrorist guy shot up Austin, Texas a week ago and tried to burn down the Mexican consulate. This story barely made the news and has since all but disappeared.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    To be fair, some conservatives, including Glenn Beck, have spoken out against the injustice of what happened to Garner, but for the most part it’s been crickets.

    What, no mention of Rand Paul trying to blame taxes for Garner’s murder? Your blind spot is getting bigger every day.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    I think he overstates the degree to which the Tea Party has principled ideological beliefs, and understates the degree to which they’re mostly about maintaining traditional power and privilege. He’s correct that they consistently posture themselves as victims, but these are not people who fear law enforcement, they only fear that the law isn’t doing enough to keep Those People from running wild. If ever they found themselves pitted against the local cops (as opposed to the shadowy feds) they’d suffer severe cognitive dissonance.

  • theguy

    The major difference here is that Garner was non-violent (although had priors for marijuana, false impersonation, driving without a license) and Bundy had a right-wing militia threatening federal agents, waving guns around, and (some of them) even set up an illegal checkpoint on a nearby road.

    All this feeds into my suspicion that people (even the fucking cops!) are too deferent to the tea bagger types.

    “Ted Cruz called the Bundy affair ‘the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on” in which “we have seen our constitutional liberties eroded.'”

    The Bundy bullshit is really the culmination of the path the anti-government right-wing hypocrites have set themselves on. Bundy’s rights weren’t violated; he’s had 16 years to fight this in court (so how the fuck is it Obama’s fault?)

    I really hope the Feds are going to do arrest somebody involved with the Bundy insurrection.

  • smrnda

    If Tea Party types were motivated by ideology, there would be no Tea Party types on government aid. It’s a movement of rather ignorant folks who hate Black people.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    smrnda “If Tea Party types were motivated by ideology, there would be no Tea Party types on government aid.”

    As a Patriotic American Tea Partier myself, I can assure you that none of us are on government aid. It’s not government aid when we use it, you see. We earned it, by spending years putting in far less than we’ll eventually take out. Unlike you lazy Moochers with your Obamaphones and Obamacars and Obamahomes. And you rich moochers steal up to $194 dollars per month in Food Stamps even after “earning” up to $400 a week at “multiple” “part” “time” “jobs”! Meanwhile, I earned SNAP, and my circumstances are totally different than yours because retirement income doesn’t count as earnings.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with my doctors to install truck nuts on my Medicare-provided scooter.

  • moarscienceplz

    If Tea Party types were motivated by ideology, there would be no Tea Party types on government aid.

    You mean like this or this or this?

  • caseloweraz

    I don’t think Peter Beinert is correct to write that Garner believed cigarettes should not be taxed. It seems likelier that he was just profiting by undercutting the normal price of cigarettes because he could.

    But that’s a small point. Beinert is basically correct.