Just over a week ago, Tea Party protestors hurled racial and homophobic slurs and spat at members of Congress.1 That was followed by a rash of vandalism and death threats targeting Democratic members of Congress.2
Republicans have done almost nothing to tamp down this dangerous atmosphere and have even egged the protesters on. And when the Republican National Committee was asked to endorse a bi-partisan “civility” statement that would send a message to the protesters, they refused.3
It's time to demand that Republican leaders stop turning a blind eye to violence and hate before it gets out of control and someone gets hurt. Please click below to add your voice, and please ask your friends and family to do the same:
Since the passage of health care reform last week, at least 10 members of Congress have received threats and requested additional police presence.4 Windows and doors were smashed at several representatives' offices, and a gas line was cut at what vandals thought was the house of Congressman Tom Perriello.5 One office had to be evacuated when it received a threatening letter filled with an unidentified white powder.6
Meanwhile, some Republicans have tried to justify the vandalism or blame Democrats for inviting it on themselves,7,8 and others have escalated their use of violent rhetoric. Sarah Palin told her supporters "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!", and published a map with cross-hairs over the districts of some Democrats who voted for health care reform.9 RNC Chairman Michael Steele said "let's start getting Nancy [Pelosi] ready for the firing line this November."10
Last Saturday's protest and this week's past events are just the most recent example of the intolerance and hate coming from right-wing extremists this past year. At times it's been instigated by Republican leaders. When not, it's usually condoned and seen as part of a strategy to score politically. Either way, it's completely unacceptable and has to stop.
5. See reference 2.
9. See reference 2.
12. See Reference 11.