Tom Loewy: Tea Party battle lines drawn

From the Register-Mail:

They were the people who fill your churches, help you at the bank, answer phones at businesses, teach your kids in school and donate their time and effort to charities throughout Knox County. There was a retired judge. A few off-duty law enforcement officers. There were even Galesburg High School students and members of Local 60 — the union representing boilermakers from Morton. The list goes on and on.

There were a lot of people in Lincoln Park. The naked eye could estimate 500. Maybe 700.

Down in front of the union folks, not far from the lectern set up in front of the gazebo in Lincoln Park, were three Knox College students. They stood out for a reason.

Rana Tahir, Netsie Tjirongo and Shanna Collins aren’t white. They’re shades of brown. And not from Galesburg.

While it was plainly obvious they were a super-minority, none of three claimed the Tea Party movement or any of its followers who attended Thursday’s rally are racists.

“Look, it’s not surprising that there were not many people of color here tonight,” said the 19-year-old Tahir, who was born in Pakistan, raised in Kuwait and has lived in the U.S. for three years. “You see things on the news and I think some of it might put off people of color.”