PETER BEINARTDEC 4 2014, 10:08 AM ET
Imagine that Eric Garner had been white. Imagine that he’d been living in Idaho. Imagine that the law-enforcement officers who killed him had been federal agents.
His death would be a Tea Party crusade.
Think about it. The police hassled Garner because he had a history of selling untaxed cigarettes. It’s the kind of big-government intrusion that drives Tea Partiers nuts. One of the events that helped launch the Tea Party, in fact, came in January 2009, when activists from Young Americans for Liberty donned American Indian garb to protest the soda taxes proposed by then-New York Governor David Patterson.
Garner responded to being hassled with a statement of “don’t tread on me” anti-government defiance: “I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!”
A tussle ensued…
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