How Does Randy Brogdon’s Lunch Relate to Health Care?
9:00 PM EDT on March 31, 2010
From the beginning of the "Tea Party" movement, I have been skeptical of their motives. Some of my friends, whose opinions I respect, insist that fiscal policy is just so important right now that a huge coalition of conservatives are fired up to do something about government spending.
And while I agree that this is actually a subject that deserves real debate, I have not been convinced for a moment that the protesters that have begun to dominate the news are truly motivated by anger at the government trying to stimulate the economy. Seriously, take a look at the level of anger displayed at their rallies. It rivals these rallies. And I don't think people can get that excited by something so difficult to understand. It generally takes a wedge issue like homosexuality, religion, or race that can be painted in terms of good versus evil that even the most inbred person can pretend to figure out.
In this case, these Tea Partiers are claiming to be motivated entirely by a "Reaganomics/Lassiez Faire" vs. "Goverment Intervention" economic debate where if a vast majority of the attendees sat in a room listening to the pros versus cons they would fall asleep. So, call me crazy, but I think the anger is driven more by a, and I'm just spit balling here, fear of a minority holding the highest office in the country.
Oklahoma's king of the tea party movement is doing nothing to dispel this belief.
In a debate on the "opt out" of the Federal Health Care reform, tea party leader/gubernatorial candidate/state senator/ADT salesman Randy Brogdon, who sponsored the legislation, dropped what the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus deemed to be a racist comment. After railing against the federal reforms, which he called "ObamaCare" no less than a dozen times, Brogdon asked an extremely strange, even for him, question about where Oklahoma accepting the mandates would lead:
Are we going to have to purchase fried chicken tomorrow for dinner?
For his Why The Face explanation, Brogdon insists that the specific entree was on his mind because that was what he had for lunch that day. There was no malice, or racist intent behind him selecting a food that is stereotypically used to portray what black people eat (ordinarily with a side of watermelon). Therefore, it is the fault of everyone else for jumping to the conclusion that he, after carefully associating the reform passed by United States Congress to the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States, was attempting to use a racially tinged metaphor to get the almost entirely white legislative branch to rise up against a black person telling them what to do.
Just as I find it hard to believe that the Tea Party movement is concerned exclusively with government spending, I have trouble accepting that Randy Brogdon was truly deaf to how his inquiry would be construed. It just always surprises me that the people who use racially charged language are the only people who are unaware of how the language is racially charged. Personally, as a liberal minded person who accepts that "political correctness" helps to improve civility, I have generally surrounded myself with like minded people. Yet, I have still been privy to plenty of people, being intentionally racist, using fried chicken to flavor their bigoted salvos. When more conservative people, who think "political correctness" is just liberal bunk, pretend that they have virgin ears when it comes to racial stereotyping, I throw the B.S. flag.
When all is said and done, Brogdon's use of racist code words will likely be forgotten, at least by the people he cares about impressing. Those who picked up on and condemn the phrasing weren't going to be supporters of his to begin with, those who were supporters already would accept that he was being persecuted by the PC police, and meanwhile, he can covertly pick up some support from this voting block that is increasing by the day. Win-win-win for Senator Crazytown.