The Tea Bag folks have finally shown their true colors.
This disparate group of Americans – seemingly living in fear and anger at everything in life – has drawn together all sorts of people who typically have little in common.
This weekend, Tea Baggers descended upon Washington to protest health care reform. Yesterday, in the hallowed halls of Congress, some of the protesters hurled vicious homophobic and racial slurs against targeted lawmakers.
To openly gay Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., they screamed at him and called him a faggot.
To civil rights hero, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who is African-American, they called him a nigger. (Apologies for repeating the hurtful words, but you should know precisely what they said.)
Other members of the Congressional Black Caucus said curses and spit were hurled at them.
Is this 2010 – or is it the 1950s and 1960s all over again?
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said in a statement that he was spit upon and felt intimidated by protesters who were screaming in his face.
"The congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The congressman would like to thank the U.S. Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the other members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care," said Danny Rotert, a spokesman for Cleaver.
The day’s events shocked even a veteran civil rights leader.
"I have heard things (Saturday) that I have not heard since March 15, 1960, when I was marching to get off the back of the bus," said House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., the highest-ranking black official in Congress.
Observers said more than 100 protesters (watch the video below) rushed toward Frank inside the Longworth House Office Building, where Democrats were meeting to discuss strategy on how to pass the health care reform bill.
According to one report, an older Tea Bagger shouted, “Barney, you faggot!” Another protester called him a “homo communist.”
Here are some of the comments about the incident that Frank made to Shawna Thomas of NBC News:
"It's just disappointing ... John Lewis said he felt like it was 50 years ago. ... I walked from the Longworth building to the Rayburn building ... people started shouting and saying abusive things, and I just kept walking. ...
"The Republican leadership is making a mistake not doing more to disassociate from this. ... It's a mob mentality that doesn't work politically. ...
"The only problem I have with this... They all said 'You should quit. You should quit. We're going to defeat you. At some point ... I'd like to retire. As long as I think it might make some of those people happy, I can never retire. I may have to work forever as long as they're out there."
The Tea Baggers should be ashamed. Bigotry and hatred will not advance their cause and will only isolate them as right-wing quacks. The lame apologies today from the Republican leadership is simply not enough.