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The Ugly Face of a Disturbed Movement

Given some of the opposition around these parts to health care reform and the opposition among the tea party set, some would think that common ground could somehow be established along those lines. There is room for trans-partisan coalitions on individual issues, no question about it. But there’s no sugar-coating this: the crowds of people in Washington today protesting the bill are horrible, racist, bigoted, angry individuals.

Exhibit A:

Rep. Barney Frank got an uglier version of the treatment. Just after Frank rounded a corner to leave the building, an older protestor yelled “Barney, you faggot.” The surrounding crowd of protestors then erupted in laughter.

Exhibit B:

Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) claimed Saturday that healthcare protesters at the Capitol directed racial epithets at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) as he walked outside.

Carson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus along with Lewis, told The Hill that protesters called Lewis the N-word […]

Lewis was one of the leaders of the civil rights movement alongside Martin Luther King. Jr.

Exhibit C:

Tea Party activists have gathered on Capitol Hill today for a “Code Red” rally against health care reform … ThinkProgress attended today’s rally and spotted a sign threatening violence if health care passes. The sign reads: “Warning: If Brown can’t stop it, a Browning can,” referring to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and a Browning firearm.

Exhibit D:

On the eve of the historic health care reform vote, federal officials are investigating a brick thrown through a window of the Niagara Falls office of U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport.

There’s no hiding this or explaining it away. Cynical conservative operatives have whipped up a mob, using lies and distortions, and now have a vile group using the language of violence and hate, if not worse. This is about more than being misinformed. This is about more than being ignorant. It’s about being the descendants of George Wallace.

You can argue the policy details without being a racist asshole, I’m fairly certain. This is just wrong.

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David Dayen

David Dayen