The Dayton Daily News reports that controversial tweets on the Twitter page of the local Springboro Tea Party have “triggered cancellations by several local and statewide candidates and elected officials” who were scheduled to speak at an upcoming Ohio Tea Party rally. Most of the cancellations appear to be in response to one specific tweet posted on March 21st:
The tweet, posted by the group’s founder, Sonny Thomas, is especially alarming considering the fact that he is a father of a son who is part Latino. “Basically, it’s like he’s saying he hates his son,” said the mother of Thomas’ son, Alana Turner. Linda Oda, a candidate for Warren County auditor who canceled her appearance at the group’s rally as a result of Thomas’ tweet, agrees. “Certainly, the tweet from Mr. Thomas in which he used a racial slur was enough for me to remove myself from any connection with him,” said Oda.
Thomas, who just recently regained visitation rights to the son he lost as a result of a domestic civil protection order filed by Turner in December 2009, blamed his troubling remarks on the Bee Gees, a rock group in the ’60s and ’70s:
“As I am a lifetime music lover of all genres, I always have some sort of song that can fit almost any occasion or situation. Coincidently the song “Spicks and Specks” by the Bee Gees had been on my player. I made the reference to the song not stopping to think of the era that it was produced and taken out of context could be offensive to some people.“
As the Plunderbund blog points out, the Bee Gees song refers to “spicks and specks” of old girlfriends, not Latinos.
Putting aside Thomas’ insulting Bee Gees-inspired racial epithet, there is absolutely no excuse for threatening violence against undocumented immigrants. Thomas has yet to offer an apology for his threatening words. Yet he isn’t the only tea party member to advocate shooting immigrants. Back in August, a right-wing protester suggested that undocumented immigrants should be sent back to their home countries with “a bullet in their head.” Tea party activists have often been caught referencing the 1787 quote by Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”