"Tea party" folks beware: Don't venture outside of Northwest Washington while you're here this weekend for a momentous rally. But that warning doesn't come from police - it's from a certain blogger who professes to be looking out for your safety.
What a poke in the eye to the nation's capital, where tea partiers (and coffee lovers) are trying their darnedest to warn official Washington about bad tax-and-spend policies.
Visitors who heed that certain blogger will be missing out. If you're a fan of baseball and want to attend a Washington Nationals game, plan to pay for parking. Ditto for diners coming to D.C. who'd like a cocktail at Clyde's, need to pick up some toiletries at Target or have a hankering for seafood at the Southwest Waterfront.
All of these establishments are easily accessible by Washington's rail system, but blogger Bruce Majors is urging tea partiers not to ride certain parts of the rail system, especially after dark, including the entire Yellow and Green lines because they traverse through certain neighborhoods.
So, sorry, Ben's Chili Bowl. While your internationally renowned establishment is practically right at the U Street Metro stop, your famous half-smokes might not be gobbled up by tea partiers avoiding those Yellow and Green lines.
Mr. Majors is trying to pass as an expert on the "safety and mores" of Washington, and, like a cow chewing its own cud, is regurgitating the perception that the tea-party movement is a racist, whites-only movement. It's a perception that black conservatives have been fighting for a long time.
"It's time for us to stop fixating on color, period," said Mychal Massie, chairman of Project 21, a black conservative organization, at a recent news conference. "When we stop fixating on color, we will stop having these discussions [about whether various groups are racist]. We're Americans!"
Hmm. "We're Americans." Isn't that supposed to be the heart of this weekend's message at the rally dubbed "Restoring Honor"?Even chief organizer and radio-TV commentator Glenn Beck says the rally is not about race.
"Whites don't own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don't own Martin Luther King," Mr. Beck said on a recent broadcast. "Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that's really what this event is about. It's about honoring character."
And here, again, comes the distorted voice of Mr. Majors, whose blog I don't even want to name:
"DC's population includes refugees from every country, as the families of embassy staffs of third world countries tend to stay in DC whenever a revolution in their homeland means that anyone in their family would be in danger if they went back. Most taxi drivers and many waiters/waitresses ... are immigrants, frequently from East Africa or Arab countries. ... Many parts of DC are safe beyond the areas I will list here, but why chance it if you don't know where you are? If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night," Mr. Majors writes.
So hopping on the subway to pay homage to the war heroes at the African-American Civil War Memorial is out of the question. Ditto the nighttime soccer, field hockey and volleyball games at the University of Maryland.
What's really ludicrous is the misperception that a single geographical quadrant of the nation's capital is assumed to be a safe oasis, while the other three are "why chance it" territory. There is no such thing as a safe harbor, and Washington, the whole of it, has more to offer its visitors than national monuments and national parkland.
How sad that high-profile tea partiers aren't condemning this racial demagoguery.
c Deborah Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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