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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farmington Tea Party Protestor Tells Congressman Ben Ray Lujan to 'Get Out of Politics and Make Room for an American'

BenRayLujan
Photo from Farmington Daily Times online

An article today on Think Progress reports on an ugly incident that took place yesterday in Farmington, New Mexico as Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) was preparing to tour Goodwill Industries as part of a tour of local nonprofit organizations. About a dozen rowdy Tea Party protestors showed up to confront him and at least one of them was clearly out of line -- exhibiting the kind of bigotry and xenophobia that Tea Party advocates continually claim are not present in the Tea Party movement:

Tuesday in New Mexico, the strains of racism and ethnocentrism that exist in the Tea Party movement emerged again. As Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) prepared to tour a nonprofit organization in Farmington, he was met by a dozen Tea Party protesters, one of whom asserted that Lujan was not an American. The Farmington Daily Times reports:

Darrel Clark of Farmington said he came for “a chance to see the elusive representative.”

He needs to get out of politics and make room for an American,” Clark said.

Luján is a lifelong New Mexican. Clark later explained that he meant an “American patriot.”

Though Clark did not elaborate on what he meant by “American patriot,” it’s not hard to understand his implication.

 Congressman Lujan, always the gentleman, didn't take the bait:

Luján appeared to take the protest in stride.

"It's important that we get out to visit our constituency," Luján said. "We think that's important, and we'll continue to do that ... Luján noted that the protesters were "mostly respectful."

According to one protestor, the demonstration was associated with the San Juan County 9/12 Project (aslo see Facebook page), a Tea Party-aligned group: 

"I thought we'd come out and share our thoughts with him," said Joe Rogers of Farmington, who called friends to join the protest.

As the Think Progress article noted,

The Tea Party continues to claim that racism, ethnocentrism, and xenophobia are not driving forces in its movement, but the actions of its members continue to belie those claims. Many of the movement’s causes have targeted Latinos — advocating for harsh immigration laws, referring to them as “anchor babies” and “welfare queens,” urging followers to attack Latinos, and fighting to rewrite the 14th amendment to remove its guarantee of birthright citizenship.

Where is the Republican Party of New Mexico in all of this? I would think that any legitimate political party organization would quickly be issuing a statement refuting awful statements like that of right winger Darrel Clark. Then again, the GOP nationwide has long looked the other way when its Tea Party supporters and other extremist segments of its base use hate-filled invectives and over-the-line speech to attack Democrats. Both Tea Party members and all Republicans should be ashamed of this incident, and publicly condemning the racist speech of Darrel Clark and anyone else on the right who is stooping to this kind of behavior. I won't hold my breath.

August 24, 2011 at 05:45 PM in Hispanic Issues, Racial Minorities, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Republican Party, Right Wing | Permalink

Comments

Yes the New Mexico Republican Party should have issued a statement to distance themselves from the behavior, and to immediately help control any future incidents which we know can escalate dangerously. If I see this, certainly they can see it.

Posted by: Anita Walsh | Aug 24, 2011 6:13:31 PM

The Republican Party has increasingly, over the past couple of decades or so, become beholden to these people.

This is an outgrowth of the evangelical right wing, particularly the dominionist element that tries to stay out of sight, demanding more and more from the GOP for their support.

I went to college with people at the time that I did not take seriously, because they seemed just full of sophomore BS. That was in the early '70s in Texas.

I have watched as the kids I went to school with inherited major oil fortunes and put them to work in support of their "born again" mission to roll back progressivism. Make no mistake. That is their objective.

These people have been becoming more and more open and blunt about the way they feel. Karl Rove had taught them to be more artful and to calculate what they were saying in public.

But 8 years under Bush has convinced these people that he failed to be extreme enough in being pure right wing and "born again." They want more.

With Rick Perry in the Presidential race, I would look for the money behind him (also the money behind Martinez) to roll in like a tsunami from Texas, and to have some kind of impact on the Senate Race and other elective races as well.

If the Democratic Party does not get more interested in why the Democratic Party of Texas lost its majority status twenty years ago and how some political campaigns succeed against right wing candidates there, the same could happen here.

New Mexico sits between Arizona and Texas. GOP strategists have probably noticed.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Aug 25, 2011 2:30:57 PM

Unfortunately I see that Hector Balderas is using this incident to gather emails on his campaign website and Congressman Lujan is using it to raise campaign funds. You could say the teaparty guy did them a favor.

Posted by: Eckers | Aug 25, 2011 5:05:02 PM

If any democratic candidate for any office has the courage to make a public statement against this type of behavior toward a respected Hispanic Congressman I must applaud their leadership even when they collect emails in the process. Too many politicians want to straddle the middle and stick to safe and scripted speeches aimed at being "middle of the road." Some are afraid to fight for us even when we are attacked as un-patriotic by the tea party and other extremists. To remain silent in the face of such bigotry is simply no longer an option. Extremists are everywhere and we need all democratic politicians to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. We have a long 10 months ahead of us. Let's send a message that New Mexico is different. Bigoted rhetoric will not play well in Farmington, or any other New Mexico town. Democrats have a long tradition of embracing diversity. Democrats Unite.

Posted by: Mariposa | Aug 25, 2011 7:14:01 PM

I don't think uniting is an option when at least half the Democrats are on the side of the corporations and favor the same nihilistic covert war policies as Bush.

I do wonder where the state Dem Party is on this. They have paid staff. What do they do all day/

Posted by: Democrats are split | Aug 25, 2011 7:40:59 PM

This is par for the course with the grunting Republicans in Farmington. It is rare for a year to go by when they do not go all out to prove themselves to be among the most rabidly hateful of the right wing fringe bunnies. I have seen them scream obsenities at children, pelt war protestors with refuse from passing cars, and gang up on individuals to taunt and threaten them. The oil and gas industry has made Farmington a bastion of the lowbrow redneck, though we also have some very good Democrats here as well.

Posted by: Art Jaquez | Aug 25, 2011 9:56:16 PM

It is embarrassing to witness fellow democrats use assumptions and deviations in semantic interpretations to use truly disgusting generalizations about people they have never met and then claim to be tolerant and enlightened. There was nothing in the above article that identified Mr. Clark as a republican or democrat.

When we exhibit the ability to respectively and thoughtfully engage in proper debate we contribute to the broader state and national interest.

Posted by: Howard Hutchinson | Aug 26, 2011 10:15:26 AM

Oh please Howard Hutchinson, face the facts. To pretend that the tea party movement isn't based on racism and bigotry or to pretend that it's not a right wing phenomenon, funded by right wing sources, is simply to deny reality.

Posted by: SCC | Aug 26, 2011 10:46:33 AM

Let me see: Obama ranks amongst his friends Louis Farrikan, Jeremiah Wright, Communist Van Jones, terrorist Bill Ayres, but it's conservatives and libertarians of the Tea Party who are somehow the radicals. Really?

Posted by: Robyn Schmalz | Aug 26, 2011 11:57:33 AM

Wow, digging back to some long discredited BS for your comments, eh Robyn? The tea party/republican rhetoric isn't particularly radical - it's more a retread of the racist garbage that the "states rights" crowd spewed in the 50s and 60s.

Posted by: Get Real | Aug 26, 2011 12:03:18 PM

Er, Hutchison you need to brush up on those reading skills. It is clearly stated that the protest was associated with the 9/12 Project, which aligned with the Teabaggers. And just who in the world do you think you are telling others who they have and have not met? I live in San Juan County and I can tell you without a doubt, Clark is a Republican. So save your moronic claims for your right wing blogs.

Posted by: Art Jaquez | Aug 26, 2011 1:42:34 PM

Robyn is drinking that rank tea. Most of these people run from facts, despise interpretations that are not the most disparaging possible and only are interested in the most negative gossip that only works on people who are also determined to be ignorant.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Aug 27, 2011 1:05:51 PM

It always amazes me that Democrats... especially their leader... are so afraid of questions. The reasons are very obvious: "duh! I dunno". However, why was it necessary to refer to Luhan as "Hispanic" if he were white, and someone said that they would be called a racist. Who cares what color he is, he's either good for our country or not. The public will decide. Also someone commented that it must be a bad thing to be a Christian..... relax. You should try going to church sometime, you might be surprised. Or you can stay on your little prayer rug and face Mecca 5 times a day.... good luck with that. At any rate, chill, this one guy asked a question (we don't know what.....!) let it go. Pull up your big boy pants Luhan and get back up on your stump. I wouldn't vote for you even if you had known the answer to the question.

Posted by: McVay | Aug 27, 2011 2:10:09 PM

Yes Robyn, its strange that none of those 'good 'ol boys' friends of Obama's seems to matter to the liberals. Or so many other things that just don't add up for him or that wife of his. Egads! We gave him a year to explain which he has not but concentrated on ruining our country for everyone, every political party, every citizen. Come on 2012!! Adios Hussein!

Posted by: McVay | Aug 27, 2011 2:15:48 PM

It's always amusing when the tea baggers come out to complain they are getting picked on for being racists and then they use more racist rhetoric to defend themselves. "Stay on your little prayer rug and face Mecca 5 times a day"? Who are you talking to with that comment?

Tea baggers always pretend to be for the constitution but most everything they say is against what that document says, like separation of church and state.

I also suggest if you want to criticize a politician you should at least spell their name right. It's Lujan not Luhan.

The more teabaggers write the more clearly anyone with a working brain can see how ignorant, racist, anti-American and uninformed they are. The two comment above are good examples of that.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Aug 27, 2011 6:11:57 PM