Sunday, March 21, 2010

Excusing Discrimination and Perpetuating False Information.

I can only say this: I'm ashamed of this behavior and I hold the Republicans responsible for encouraging it with blatant lies about what the health care bill will do. Excusing this discrimination is reprehensible.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a leading voice in the tea party movement, said Sunday that protesters’ recent use of racial and homophobic slurs toward Members of Congress was no big deal.

“I just don’t think it’s anything,” King said, emphasizing that the incidents were isolated. “There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.”

To focus on a few incidents is “embellishing something that is determined to undermine the people,” said the Iowa conservative.

King’s remarks come a day after tea party protesters spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and shouted a racial slur at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); both are African-American. A protester also shouted a sexual slur at Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is openly gay.

Another Republican lawmaker also brushed off the racial epithets and suggested they were prompted by the parliamentary maneuvers being used by Democrats to pass a health care bill.

“When you use a totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Sunday on C-SPAN. “I think that people have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it.”

Nunes added that the slurs were “not appropriate” but that he would “stop short of characterizing the 20,000 people protesting, that all of them were doing that.”

Tea party protesters have flooded the Capitol grounds in recent days in protest of health care reform. On Sunday morning, organizers directed protesters gathered outside the Capitol to get gallery passes and flood the building for the day.

King was among a handful of GOP Members firing up protesters on the Capitol steps Saturday evening to help block passage of the bill. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told the crowd to “remember the Alamo” and that the only difference between that fight and the health care fight is that “if we lose this battle, millions of Americans are going to die.”

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Blogger Rick said...

I would like to add that with all the cameras rolling, many of which I have viewed through various news clips and youtube, I have not seen or heard any of the claims about words or spitting.

It may be true. but to me, it is one word against another.

If it did happen, it is abhorrent to me and to most of the rest in the tea party movement.

I thought the vice president whispered an interesting comment into the president's ear yesterday.

We are all human and emotions can bring out the unseemly side in us all. We need to be patient with each other.

March 24, 2010 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Ann Neumann said...

Hi Rick,

Great to hear from you!

I just don't equate Biden's comment, criticized simply because it included a swear word, to be equal to discrimination against minorities. If Lewis says he was called a nigger, I believe him. If Frank says he was called a fag, I believe him.

The tone, signs, and attitude of the Tea Party harks tyranny, destruction of the current system and those who are working within it to make change; obstinacy and lack of criticism from the Republican party -- or the Tea Party -- for such actions is abhorrent. Of course a few loud-mouthed racists don't stand for the entire Tea Party movement, but such actions should be condemned. And they're not. Even by you they're excused and denied.

I think we would be dishonest to say that a movement comprised of largely older and white members, carrying pitchforks and signs of Hitler and witchdoctors, decrying economic and social equality for all citizens (at least, you know, those other dark, gay or poor ones) doesn't come off as threatening.

Only from a place of white privilege, where we live with savings accounts, educations, and a lack of discrimination, can we discount the fears of others.

We don't know what it's like to have our own country outlaw us, to treat us as second class, to legislate against our equal rights to voting, marriage, education. You and I, Rick, can pretend that the Tea Party isn't scary when they call for secession and wave "Don't Treat on Me" flags.

But you and I also know, when we drop our sense of privilege, what those threats mean: they mean that the country should continue to give white men the upper hand, that the Civil War was just, and that those who *have* deserve it because they earned it. It's a false assessment of the diverse country we now belong to, of the goals of our constitution and our democratic experiment. And it denies the second-class status that many of our citizens have been living in for decades and longer.

Those who fear sharing the wealth and rights we have with people not like us are a dying breed. And years from now we will look back on this aspect of the Tea Party movement as shameful and draconian, much as we should look at other hate groups in our nation's history.

I live in NYC. I can't walk down a single street without hearing "fuck." It is, in many parts of the country, a common word. And I use it myself often. That's a cultural, linguistic issue. You've said it yourself, I would bet, in great moments of anger or pain or joy and achievement. It doesn't bother me in the least.

But to act like saying fuck in the president's ear is the same or worse than spitting on a black man or calling a gay man a fag, or protesting that members of society be treated as less than others. Now's that's a false comparison.

Discrimination, hate-speach, violent persecution of minorities and even legislators is a whole different thing than saying "fuck."

I hope your'e all well and good there! A

March 24, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

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