A Big Clue

Just in case you still weren’t clear on what motivates so many members of the Tea Party:

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president’s speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-M.D.) had been spit on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-G.A.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a ‘ni–er.’ And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a “faggot,” as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president’s speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

“It was absolutely shocking to me,” Clyburn told the Huffington Post. “Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday… I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins… And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus.”

“It doesn’t make me nervous as all,” the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. “In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else.”

Asked if he wanted an apology from the group of Republican lawmakers who had addressed the crowd and, in many ways, played on their worst fears of health care legislation, the Democratic Party, and the president, Clyburn replied:

“A lot of us have been saying for a long time that much of this, much of this is not about health care a all. And I think a lot of those people today demonstrated that this is not about health care… it is about trying to extend a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful.”

5 thoughts on “A Big Clue

  1. Sad to say, but I’m not at all surprised. As an AA myself, I believe we’ve come a long way since the civil rights era, but I also know there are still elements in this country who, unfortunately, haven’t yet realized that America is a more multi-cultural, multi-ethinic, and multi-racial country than we were in the 50’s. Those who spout racial and sexists epithets at any human being—especially over policy that just might help their fellow human beings and their country—ought to be charged with treason. I ain’t happy with the bill either, but God knows there are many who will, in fact, be helped (esp. the children) with its passage. Shame on those assholes!

  2. The tea-baggers showed what pigs they really and truly are. There was no need for any incidents of that type.

  3. yes…the behavior of some of these people, so filled with rage, is disgusting. The name calling and and spitting on people is beyond ignorance. Clyburn should also remember that his behavior during the primaries, calling the Clintons, and everyone who supported them, racists. He might also consider, in his “shocked” self that this occurred, that millions of women, African Americans and Hispanics, receive ignorant, insulting epitaphs every day.

  4. That vitriol-filled protester was pretty light-skinned for a Nicaraguan. I bet he was part of dictator Somoza’s extended family. This is important, because degree of skin tone is a marker in many Central American and Caribbean societies: it denotes social class. It’s not just the binary black-and-white of American society. The protestor was speaking from his vantage point of entitlement and privilege… WHICH IS WHY HE IS AGAINST EXTENDING HEALTH CARE, even in a weak bill.

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