It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. On Sunday I appeared as a guest on the Melissa Harris-Perry show to discuss the state of politics in America today. One of my fellow panelists, Angela Nye, observed:
“I was just thinking, to me, in 2010, the Republican infighting took a particularly dangerous tone because it wasn’t just about infighting anymore. It was about taking our country back with the resurrection of the Tea Party. And it was very, very racial, whether any of them will admit it or not.”
I frequently discuss politics on cable news outlets and expect partisan rhetoric from my fellow guests. But I found Nye’s comments incendiary and provocative. I rarely lose my temper on air, but I could not leave the reflexive “Republicans/Tea Party are racist” meme unaddressed. I fear race relations have worsened rather than improved in the Obama era of “hope and change.” Legitimate disagreement with the president and congressional Democrats often is characterized as being racist or racially motivated rather than a genuine difference of opinion on policy.