Dear Mr. Freeman,
My name is Ali Akbar. I’m a 26 year-old African-American small business owner and a tea party activist. . . .
I idolized you as a boy. Growing up without a father, you were one of the strong black men in my life who gave me a model to follow. Each of the characters you played had dignity and confidence. I tried to emulate the strength you projected. . . .
I’ve attended dozens of tea party events. I’ve helped organize them, and I’ve even spoken at a few. The tea party is not what is often depicted in the news. It is people of all colors who are terribly concerned about the direction that America is heading. We don’t trust big government to make decisions for us. And we fear that the present administration’s spending is going to lead our country down a path to insolvency, much like what Greece is currently facing. . . .
I’m hoping that you’ll come to a tea party in Tennessee — the place of your birth. Really anywhere in the country that works for you; I’ll set it up with the one of the thousands of activists I know around our great country. I’d be delighted to introduce you to good people who will welcome you with open arms, disagree with you, and then feed you some of the best barbeque you’ve ever tasted. . . .
To paraphrase what I wrote the other day before Akbar’s letter hit the Blogosphere, I’m sure Freeman won’t take Akbar up on his offer, for the same reason that Keith Olbermann couldn’t accept the Dallas Tea Party’s video invitation last year. It’s much tougher to demonize a group once you’ve met them in person, and discovered they’re as flesh and blood as you are. Best to leave them mysterious and scary — and at a distance, instead:
Oh, for those same reasons, presumably Akbar’s offer won’t get any traction from sites such as the Internet Movie Database, which were quick to run Freeman’s attack last week.
I’d love to be wrong on both of those assumptions, though. Over to you, Morgan!