Monday, November 29, 2010

Tea Partiers sure seem to want to tear up the Constitution they loudly proclaim to love

-- by Dave

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Our friends at the Institute for Research and Education in Human Rights -- who earlier put together that devastating study on racism within the Tea Parties for the NAACP -- recently caught Judson Phillips, organizer of the National Tea Party Convention and one of the movement's leading lights, offering up some interesting advice to his Internet radio listeners:

In a stunning set of declarations aimed at the Tea Party faithful, however, Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips sounded more like an economic and political royalist. On the November 17 edition of his Tea Party Nation internet radio program, Phillips said: "The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn't you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you're a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you're not a property owner, you know, I'm sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners."

Sure, let's just do away with the principle of "one man one vote" altogether! After all, the Roberts Court has now enshrined corporate personhood -- this would be the next logical step.

But that, as it turns out, was just the start of a conversation Phillips had with a guy named David DeGerolamo, who is the founder of Tea Party outfit called North Carolina Freedom.
Conspiracy theories aside, Phillips and DeGerolamo had their own special way of holding the Constitution dear to their patriotic hearts, by discussing which parts of it they would like to rip out.

Judson Phillips: "Of course, when people talk, three Amendments that really are the only ones that seriously get talked about getting repealed: the 16th Amendment, for the income tax, and we can only hope that happens; the 17th Amendment for having the appointment of Senators got back to state legislatures; and the 26th Amendment, I believe it is.

Do you know which one that is, David?"

David DeGerolamo: "No, but I know which one I want repealed."

Judson Phillips:
"Which one is that?"

David DeGerolamo: "I want the 14th Amendment repealed."

Judson Phillips: "At least modified, but yeah..."

What's especially noteworthy about all this is that al lthis talk is straight out of the Patriot movement of the 1990s, which often and openly discussed its belief in the "the organic Constitution," to wit, the core text and the Bill of Rights, and that by and large Patriot did not believe any of the ensuing amendments had been properly passed or were legally binding.

In particular, militiamen and Patriots have traditionally despised the 14th and 16th amendments, and would be delighted to see a raft of other overturned as well.

Of course, this crossover between the Patriots and the Tea Parties was also the subject of my report for AlterNet last week. Indeed, the more we see this kind of rhetoric coming from the movement's national leaders, the more it becomes clear the Tea Parties are becoming a kind of surreptitious way for the Patriot movement to mainstream itself on a massive scale.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

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