One Tea Party protester called the former civil rights leader and current Atlanta Congressman John Lewis the "n-word". John Lewis was spat on and called the n-word when he marched on that bridge in Selma, AL over 50 years ago. Now as a respected member of Congress he has to endure it again.
Another spat on Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, also an African American.
The more things change ... the more they stay the same.
Republican leaders publicly denounced Sunday's ugly scene, but they failed to acknowledge that this is only the latest incident in a pattern of violent rhetoric, racially charged imagery, and paranoid conspiracy theories at Tea Party rallies. Many Tea Partiers aren't simply about dissent -- they use fear and hatred to assault the very legitimacy of our elected leaders. It's the worst America has to offer.
All things rise and fall with leadership. Watch the following video and tell me which leader you want to follow?
John Boehner and his GOP cronies know that this past weekend wasn't an isolated incident.
Villagers remember the rallies held to protest tax day last year, Tea Partiers carried signs that announced "Obama's Plan: White Slavery," "The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's Oven," and "Guns Tomorrow!"
The Republican National Committee had endorsed the rallies, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele encouraged Tea Partiers to send a "virtual tea bag" to President Obama and Democratic Congressional leadership. After reports of the fear-mongering signs surfaced, Steele did nothing to distance his party from the lunatic fringe. He has even gone so far as to say that if he didn't have his current position, he'd be "out there with the tea partiers." Some Republican governors even planned a "Tea Party 2.0" for the following month in an effort to build on the rallies' momentum.
The Tea Party's venomous rhetoric picked up steam over the summer, when angry mobs flooded town hall meetings legislators had organized as sites for rational, civil debate on health care reform. After one meeting in Atlanta, a swastika was painted on the office of Congressman David Scott (D-GA), who had also received a flier addressed to "nigga David Scott." Some protesters showed up at town hall meetings carrying guns, including at least one man who was armed at an event where the President was speaking. Again, Republicans responded to these tactics with silence, doing nothing to denounce them.
Similarly, there was no public outcry from Republican leadership when Mark Williams, a leader of the Tea Party movement, was exposed for having described the President as "an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief" on his blog.
Instead, we see members of the GOP continued to show up to and endorse Tea Party rallies. And as recently as Sunday -- the day that the historic health care bill passed the House -- Republican members of the House riled up the same Tea Party crowd that had earlier harassed their fellow members with hate and bigotry.
It is time to put a stop to the hate. I encourage all villagers to sign the petition recently created by ColorOfChange.org. Do it now!