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.
Lujan, however, was born in Santa Fe, has lived in the U.S. all his life, and is the son of a public school administrator and the speaker of New Mexico’s state House of Representatives. According to the Daily Times, Lujan took the protests and their insults “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.”