There was much derision some months back aimed at ex-President Jimmy Carter's criticism of the teabaggers as being motivated in part by racism. Sad to say, Mr. Carter was right.
Tea party protesters use racial epithet against Georgia's John Lewis
WASHINGTON — Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol , angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted "nigger" Saturday at , a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.
The protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus , lawmakers said.
"They were shouting, sort of harassing," Lewis said. "But, it's okay, I've faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean."
Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building across from the Capitol when protesters shouted "Kill the bill, kill the bill," Lewis said.
"I said 'I'm for the bill, I support the bill, I'm voting for the bill'," Lewis said.
A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying "Kill the bill, then the n-word."
"It surprised me that people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate," Lewis said.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver , D- Mo. , said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard "nigger."
"It was a chorus," Cleaver said. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff - they're being whipped up. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them."
Protestors also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank , D- Mass. , an openly gay member of Congress . A writer for Huffington Post said the crowd called Frank a "faggot."
Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as 'homo.'
"I'm disappointed with the unwillingness to be civil," Frank told the Globe. "I was, I guess, surprised by the rancor. What it means is obviously the is proxy for a lot of other sentiments, some of which are perfectly reasonable, but some of which are not."
"People out there today, on the whole, were really hateful," Frank said. "The leaders of this movement have a responsibility to speak out more."
Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday as the House Democratic leadership worked to gather enough votes to enact a President Barack Obama's domestic agenda. Most were affiliated with so-called tea party organizations that originally sprang up during last summer's protests of the health care proposals. proposal that has become the centerpiece of
Heated debate has surrounded what role race plays in the motivations of the tea party demonstrators. During protests last summer, demonstrators displayed a poster depicting Obama as an African witch doctor complete with headdress, above the words "OBAMACARE coming to a clinic near you." Former President Jimmy Carter asserted in September that racism was a major factor behind the hostility that Obama's proposals had faced.
The claim brought angry rebuttals from Republicans.
On Saturday, Frank, however, said he was sorry Republican leaders didn't do more to disown the protesters.
Some Republicans "think they are benefiting from this rancor," he said.
House Majority Whip , D- S.C. , said Saturday's ugliness underscored for him that the health care overhaul isn't the only motivation for many protesters.
"I heard people saying things today I've not heard since March 15th, 1960 , when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus," Clyburn said. "This is incredible, shocking to me."
He added, "A lot of us have said for a long time that none of this is about healthcare at all. It's about extending a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful."
( James Rosen contributed to this story.)
To assert these 'demonstrators' are motivated by anything less than a mistrust of black people would be an understatement. I live in the South and can attest to just how repulsively racist many whites in these parts still are, and they are much more open and honest in their attitudes than anywhere else in the US (it is to the point that I do not even talk politics to any white person in the Deep South over the age of 60, so lost and heinous they mostly remain in their views of non-whites). The fear of blacks unfortunately remains a bedrock of white Southern culture (driving the suburbs just as much as the violent uprising against Reconstruction), although it is not near the force that it once was in the days of slavery and Jim Crow.
Here are some more examples of what has become of the Republican Party.
The paradox is this grouping considers a corporatist health bill that summates to a subsidy for private insurance to Communism (and a "government takeover") and a half-black President equal to Islamic terrorism. This should give you an insight as to just how deluded and ignorant these people are. In many ways, this is just a replay of the '90s, when the white right responded to Clinton and the issue of gun control by forming militias and giving the world Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing. I have no doubt they are capable of this again, especially when they are showing up at Presidential speeches with firearms, threatening to commit political violence (and are filled with barely-hinged denizens who commit mass murder because of their opposition to gun control and wreck planes into IRS buildings).
The consequences of what would follow if these forces did what they really wanted to do would be beyond imagination and damage our already fragile state of the Bill of Rights (the dead letter parts of which were shredded by the teabaggers' preferred party when they were in control of the White House). Like with John Wilkes Booth and the Confederacy they are fighting a battle they will ultimately lose. They lost when the framers wrote a Constitution that made it possible to amend their most oppressive practices, and eventually they will lose the demographic war, in which whites will become a numerical minority by the middle part of this century. I think with these demonstrations, we have their answer to those coming changes.
Just in case you think I am being overly harsh of these violent sociopaths, here are some more signs carried by teabaggers at two other 'tea party' events and demonstrations.