Morgan Freeman is Wrong
by Deneen Borelli (bio)
In a September 23 interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, award-winning actor Morgan Freeman claimed the moral high ground, saying tea partiers have a "racist" motivation against President Obama "to do whatever [they] can to get this black man outta here."
Sadly, another Hollywood liberal elite has dealt the race card against the tea party.
I will admit that Freeman is a great actor. Years ago, I had the opportunity to see him live in action. I was excited and proud of my role as an extra in the 1989 biographical movie "Lean on Me," starring Freeman, who played the role of high school principal Joe Clark. The movie was about an inner-city high school plagued by numerous problems — particularly gang violence, drugs and poor test scores.
Because of my personal experience on the set and from watching this film numerous times over the years, I looked up to Freeman.
That is, until now.
As a frequent speaker at tea party rallies, my message is overwhelmingly received and I often get standing ovations. I feel secure in saying that I doubt Freeman has ever actually been to one. In my own experience, I've never witnessed the racial animosity the left is sure is there, yet — not surprisingly — cannot document with video or audio evidence.
In the case of Freeman, black tea party organizer Ali Akbar is trying to rectify this by inviting the entertainer to a future rally.
In the way political discourse should be conducted, Akbar recently wrote to Freeman: "I do believe that you are wrong in what you said about the tea party, but I would rather prove it to you than castigate you for your comments."
Freeman's comments, by the way, were broadcast less than 24 hours before Republicans in Florida — the political party Freeman and the rest of the left like to claim is controlled by the tea party — voted overwhelmingly for black presidential candidate Herman Cain in a straw poll.
In an interview with Fox News after his victory, Cain addressed the issue of Freeman and the tea party-bashers: "[I]t is sad that they're so short-sighted in really understanding what the whole tea party citizen movement is all about … [N]ame-calling is something that's going to continue in this because they don't know how to stop this movement."
Playing the race card against the tea party might do well in the short term to rally President Obama's disaffected core constituency, but there are unsettling long-term implications.
Wasn't Obama the man who was supposed to usher in a post-racial America? Instead, it seems the left is intentionally whipping up racial animosity to solicit support for Obama's unpopular agenda.
Don't like socialized health care? You obviously want poor blacks to suffer. Don't support the failing Social Security status quo? You hate the elderly. Don't support replacing reliable affordable fossil fuels with risky alternative energy sources? You hate the planet!
This political sloganeering is easy for entertainers to grasp and parrot to our celebrity-obsessed media, but their exploitation of their popularity for politics is dangerous.
Janeane Garofalo, for instance, is a D-list actress best known for playing a government computer expert on "24." Yet she's treated like an expert in politics on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" as she labels the tea party movement racist and accuses black conservatives like me, Cain and Akbar of suffering from "Stockholm syndrome" or being paid off.
Eva Longoria of "Desperate Housewives" went on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and called the tea party an "extremist movement," but what does she know about politics? As far as I know, the extent of her Washington knowledge is playing a Secret Service agent in "The Sentinel."
Economic uncertainty has people on the edge. Cities are already plagued by "flash mob" violence. For someone to hear a person they respect, such as Morgan Freeman, say that their neighbor may be a racist just because they don't agree with Obama's policies isn't helping things and could incite racial tension.
In fact, such flippant rhetoric could be the tipping point for unrest on a scale currently being seen in Europe.
Stick to acting, Morgan. And Janeane. And Eva. It's what you're best at — reading from a script.
# # #
Deneen Borelli is a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network. This commentary appeared previously on the web site of the Daily Caller. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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