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Jonathan Kim Headshot

Angry White Men Unleashed: Mel Gibson and the Tea Party

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They claim to be devout Christians, yet they're fueled by a decidedly un-Christlike anger that can (and does) cross over into physical violence. They believe in wild conspiracies, where dastardly covert agents work to execute their fiendish plot for world domination. They say they aren't racists, but as their rage takes hold, bigotry spews to the surface like so much crude erupting into the Gulf of Mexico. Naturally, I'm talking about the Tea Party. Or Mel Gibson.

If you haven't heard the audio of the menacing, misogynistic, racist rants Gibson launched at his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, you can find them here, here and here (WARNING: they're extremely disturbing). In addition to threatening Grigorieva's life multiple times and justifying punching her in the face while she was holding their infant daughter, Gibson refers to one of his employees as a "wetback" and tells Grigorieva that "if you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault" because of the way she dresses.

But should this rage and bigotry really be a surprise? In 1991, Gibson made anti-gay remarks to a Spanish newspaper, then repeatedly refused to apologize in subsequent interviews. In 2006, Gibson had to cash in his rehab chip and go on an apology tour after a sexist, anti-Semitic outburst following a drunk driving arrest. Gibson's film the Passion of the Christ was rightfully accused of being overly violent with an anti-Semitic slant, and the subjects of many of his films -- including Braveheart, the Patriot, Ransom, Payback and Edge of Darkness -- are raging, vengeful men who deliver justice through violence. While the intensity of Gibson's intolerance and anger is shocking, its existence shouldn't be.

The same could be said of the tea party, which is largely fueled by racist, xenophobic rage that the "real" (meaning white) America has been "lost" at the hands of a president they claim is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim socialist/Nazi antichrist. But this didn't stop Brendan Steinhauser of FreedomWorks (which organizes Tea Party events) from being shocked, SHOCKED! to hear that the NAACP was considering a resolution condemning racist elements within the tea party. "I just don't see racism in the tea party movement," claimed a befuddled Steinhauser.

That's like saying there's no evidence Mel Gibson needs sensitivity training.

The proof is all around -- the racist and hateful signs at tea party rallies, claims that Obama hates white people, tea party favorite Rand Paul's opposition to key parts of the Civil Rights Act, the racist epithets hurled at African-American Reps. John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver, the wild accusations that the Obama administration will round up (white) conservatives and place them in FEMA-run concentration camps. Add that to the fact that the tea party is overwhelmingly white, older and conservative, and allegations of racism hardly seem outlandish. Unless, of course, you're Sarah Palin.

Mel Gibson was an angry, bigoted bomb that finally and predictably went off. When the tea party explosion eventually happens, it will come as no surprise. But all Americans should fear the unknowable intensity of the blast.