Mike the Mad Biologist

There’s nothing like the prospect of a black person receiving a government service to rile up the Republican base. Anyone who has spent extended time in the South, when listening to the Tea Partyers, has heard this ugly, racist dogwhistle. But with the possible passage of Romneycare–for people who aren’t white, too!–which apparently portends The Demise of Western Civilization As We Know It, all bets are off (italics mine):

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-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), 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 said, in response to a question from 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.

Meanwhile, in the trenches, here is some of the high-minded rhetoric that’s making its way around:

In addition to the scare letter, he [her boss] has also verbally and repeatedly railed to his employees against all the “ignorant NEEEEGROES” who would get a free health care ride with this bill. According to him, the vast majority of people who need health insurance should just get a job and pay for their own, not mooch off of him. “They’re not even trying to find work, much less work hard.” (This after he himself has had to fire people because the economy has cut down on his business. Where does he think people are going to FIND jobs in in this state, in these times?).

As I’ve said before, not that all Republicans and conservatives are bigots. But Republicans and conservatives need these hatemongering scum in order to win elections and push their political agenda. They would rather hold political power than heal the festering sore of racism. Clyburn is absolutely right, in that much of the opposition has nothing to do policy at all. I’ll give the last word to Digby:

I have it good authority that there’s a lot of this coming over the phone lines too, “nigger” being the preferred epithet. At the end of the day, plain old bigotry and racism is what this frothing frenzy against health care is all about….

This is not a spontaneous uprising of disaffected citizens who are angry about bailouts. This is the base of the modern Republican party, same as it ever was.

Comments

  1. #1 Abel Pharmboy
    March 21, 2010

    Similar to the Clyburn quotes above, Barney Franks was also quoted yesterday saying, “[The health care debate has become] the proxy for a lot of other sentiments.”

    The racist rhetoric is abhorrent and inexcusible. But what I still have difficulty understanding is that even if these people are coming from a racist viewpoint, why don’t they understand the health care reform will improve the situation of poor white folks who are out of work, middle-class whites who have lost their jobs, or anyone who is one catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy? I guess this is yet in a long line of successful efforts by the right to harness racism to get lemmings to vote against their own economic interests.

  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    March 21, 2010

    Oops, should be “inexcusable.” My misspelling is inexcusable.

  3. #3 MPW
    March 21, 2010

    “I guess this is yet in a long line of successful efforts by the right to harness racism to get lemmings to vote against their own economic interests.”

    Precisely – the old “divide and rule” strategy. In one form or another this has been going on in many places for centuries. More or less arbitrary divisions along lines of ethnicity, religion, etc., are a great way to keep the plebs broken down into manageable groups, fighting amongst each other, rather than turning their attentions on the ruling class.

    Of course, that’s leaving aside the question of how much this health care bill will actually help people the way you’re talking about. But that’s neither here nor there with regard to the reactions of these scumbags.

  4. #4 s.khan
    March 21, 2010

    Just passing through here, but I want to note that the Democrats didn’t do themselves any favors in the race relations department by contantly insisting that disagreement with the Administration, and even with Obama the candidate, is motivated by racial bias. That has been a recurring theme for a couple of years, and it’s become self-fulfilling.

  5. #5 Rob Jase
    March 21, 2010

    A few weeks ago on Hardball Pat Buchanan was bragging about how he had helped bring the George Wallace/Dixiecrats into the Republican fold in the ’70′s.

    Figures Hitler’s apologist would consider making racism part of the Republican platform would think that is something to brag about.

  6. #6 NewEnglandBob
    March 21, 2010

    I agree that the Republican party has been and continues to be about bigotry, racism and elitism.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    March 21, 2010

    But what I still have difficulty understanding is that even if these people are coming from a racist viewpoint, why don’t they understand the health care reform will improve the situation of poor white folks who are out of work, middle-class whites who have lost their jobs, or anyone who is one catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8474611.stm

    And then there’s the fact that social status is relative. If you don’t believe that it’s possible to improve your own lot then the next best thing is to keep those below you from improving theirs. Or any combination of the above.

  8. #8 JohnV
    March 21, 2010

    @s.khan

    So what you’re saying is it’s the democratic party’s fault that republicans are recruiting racist shitbags and utilizing their racism to achieve political gains?

  9. #9 OmegaMom
    March 21, 2010

    s. Khan – So you’re either saying that (a) the racists have heard that news and so have joined the Republican Party because they feel that they have a home or (b) people in the Republican Party have been called racist, so they might as well *be* racist.

    Um.

    Y’know, I have an 8-year-old, and the second approach is very much what she would do. The first approach can be counteracted very well by Republican Party members and platforms specifying, publicly and loudly, that racism isn’t acceptable. And, say, oh, chastising anyone who shouts racists epithets in their hearing. Stuff like that.

    But I personally think your suggestion is full of it…

  10. #10 Tea Party Turd Thrower
    March 21, 2010

    It’s definitely an interesting turn of events. Let’s begin: It was racist democrats that who did not want slavery abolished. it was a REPUBLICAN president who aboslished slavery. Tea Party protestors are neither Republican nor democrat. They are conservative independents like myself.

    Quite frankly I hope an asteroid hits 3 seconds before the vote on this illegal, immoral, unethical, dictatorial, fascist socialist marxist “healthcare” bill that has little to do with healthcare and everthing to do with control of people’s personal lives.

    The Infernal Revenue Suckers will have more powers when they should have less. It is illegal under our constitution for an federal government to force a private soveriegn citizen to purchase a product. This marxist bill will cause many lawsuits and many protests and possibly a few more dometic contingiency operations to go forth.

    Some states are using the 10th amendment to refuse this unnecessary mandate on citizens. Idaho is threatening to sue over this bill if it passes. Alaba,a has all but told congress to shove it. I think if this illegal act of martial law soviet style marxist bill does pass, there will be hell to pay from half the states in the nation. This type of this is what caused the civil war. Mabe the south really will rise again. The south is the only place where people still have the right to work in pece without some Nazi labor party dictating over them. Damn I’m glad I live in Mississippi! No stinking filthy nazi labor unions here. Fuck the SEIU criminals.

  11. #11 D. C. Sessions
    March 21, 2010

    I do so love the deep historical understanding of some commenters. Godwin’s Law, sauced with flaming ignorance.

  12. #12 Tony P
    March 21, 2010

    My favorite irony a few years ago was seeing a Bush/Cheney ’04 bumper sticker on several beat up pieces of shit cars.

    But the Repugs sure did protect us from those terrorists, right? Or from the gays?

    BTW, here in RI the panel commissioned to study legalization of marijuana pretty much came out and affirmed that yes, it should be legalized and taxed.

    And true to form our Repug governor and the Superintendent of the State Police came out with the standard canard against legalization invoking the danger to children.

    So now they have something in common with the anti marriage equality groups like NOM. Who will protect the children??????

  13. #13 History Punk
    March 21, 2010

    “illegal, immoral, unethical, dictatorial, fascist socialist marxist “healthcare” bill”

    Is it even possible to be fascist and marxist at the same time? Now, I am just a learning-disabled, public-school educated dolt, but I seem to recall from 6th grade history and a few history channel specials, that the Marxists and the Fascists engaged in a massive war sometime between 1941 and 1945 that concluded with millions dead and Germany leveled.

  14. #14 jomega
    March 21, 2010

    A few weeks ago I heard Limbaugh rather pointedly referring to the POTUS as “uppity”, so to see this sort of up-front racism emerging more surprises me not at all.

  15. #15 JohnV
    March 21, 2010

    “Let’s begin: It was racist democrats that who did not want slavery abolished. it was a REPUBLICAN president who aboslished slavery.”

    News flash, unless there are 150+ year old democrats calling 150+ year old republicans racist that is completely irrelevant but thanks for the history lesson.

  16. #16 zackoz
    March 21, 2010

    Some of the comments above reminded me of the Bob Dylan song “Only a Pawn in their Game”:

    “A South politician preaches to the poor white man,
    `You got more than the blacks, don`t complain.
    You`re better than them, you been born with white skin,` they explain.
    And the Negro`s name
    Is used it is plain
    For the politician`s gain
    As he rises to fame
    And the poor white remains
    On the caboose of the train
    But it ain`t him to blame
    He`s only a pawn in their game.”

  17. #17 Tea Party Turd Thrower
    March 21, 2010

    But the Repugs sure did protect us from those terrorists, right? Or from the gays?”

    ——

    What terrorists? They are called overseas contingency operations or do you disagree with your president? Might have know he would have said somethi ng stupid like that. He IS a damned muslim himself. Every time something happens he sides with the enemy. Now he is siding with the HAMAS terrorists in Israel instead of siding with Israel. I guess he has to side wiyth HAMAS since he owes them a favor. They did give his campaign $20,000 dollars. He must feel obligated to side with the terrorists. Ooops. I mean the oversease contingency operators.

    As for gayism we support marriage. That is REAL marriage – between one man and one woman. Anything else is fake and doesn’t count and I refuse to recognize as marriage. This is America, not Sodom. Please take the immoral and confused “gay” people to another place to commit their sodomy. it doesn’t belong in this land. I refuse to live a wretched immoral sick twisted place like Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s why I stay away from San Fransicko. That place is going to sink one day. The wrath of God will one day come to this land but don’t blame me. I voted with God, not the sodomites. I voted for real marriage and purity not blasphemy and gayist sickness. I never figured out why a man wished to look and act like a woman. I say they should be castrated to help complete the profile. As long as they a dick and two balls, they are a man. Then they should act like it and drop the perverted lifestyle.

  18. #18 Matty
    March 21, 2010

    As I’ve said before, not that all Republicans and conservatives are bigots.

    I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.

    JS Mill

  19. #19 Rob Jase
    March 21, 2010

    Turd Party Tea Thrower – Proof that some folks still live in caves or at least think as if they do.

  20. #20 Tea Party Turd Thrower
    March 21, 2010

    Cavemen had more freedom. No marxist government dictating to them to purchase a particular product or face jail time. No government telling them they could not spear an animal for supper. No government telling them how to run every aspect of their lives. People were more free. They didn;t need government run mandated “healthcare”. They grabbed up some herbs, ate their homegrown vegetables and healed themselves. Sounds good about right now. That’s why I wished for the asteroid to hit 3 seconds before the vote on this illegal unconstitutional bill. That way, we could go back to being tribes and living free and kick other tribes’ asses when they try to tell us what to do.

  21. #21 Tyler DiPietro
    March 21, 2010

    I certainly hope Tea Party Turd Thrower is either a Poe or commenting from a padded room.

  22. #22 Cynic View
    March 21, 2010

    No, scarily enough people like TTTT roam society free, gather in delirious groups that compound their hatred, and then playing the blame game on why their lives are so bad instead of doing anything constructive. Oh sure it’s Obama, oh sure it’s the socialist bogey man under your bed, oh it’s the gays and trannies that “surprised” you.

    There’s a reason why the tea-party is considered a ticket into mainstream for traditional fringe nazi/KKK groups. Well, TTTT, I do hope your veges grow well and you don’t fall sick in a caveman world, because I’m not trading with you – and you can go do what you like with your teabagging comrades (mostly complaining and scaremongering I think).

  23. #23 sinister parrot villain
    March 21, 2010

    TTTT smells like a Poe.

  24. #24 Gyeong Hwa Pak
    March 21, 2010

    Calling TTTT a Poe indicates that you guys haven’t understand what Poe says.

    Some people are generally that idiotic.

  25. #25 mxh
    March 21, 2010

    How is any of this a surprise? This has been going on since before the election. In fact, things haven’t changed much from the 1950′s… until now these people kept their racism out of the public, but now that foxnews and the republicans say it’s ok (after all, we have a black president, there’s no such thing as bigotry anymore), they’re free to be themselves in public.

  26. #26 skeptifem
    March 22, 2010

    “Just passing through here, but I want to note that the Democrats didn’t do themselves any favors in the race relations department by contantly insisting that disagreement with the Administration, and even with Obama the candidate, is motivated by racial bias. That has been a recurring theme for a couple of years, and it’s become self-fulfilling.”

    If I understand you correctly, you are trying to say that people who say that there is racist opposition too often means that the racism must be made up. Ever think that there really is a lot of racist opposition? Look at the signs people carry at the protests, ffs. There was the ‘magic negro’ thing, the picture with the white house garden full of watermelons, the hysteria over him being a ‘secret muslim’ or not really being american, etc. It took things that extreme for the racism accusations to come out, so it is far from being a constant point of democrats.

    Republicans aren’t going to crap on their potential votes by opposing racism in a serious way. People who are racist have serious anxiety about obama’s presidency. Having a bunch of easily scared constituients means you can do whatever the hell you want. So hardcore racists are a shrinking, but politically valuable demographic. They will court this group until it doesn’t pay to anymore.

  27. #27 DonkeyKong
    March 22, 2010

    “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”-George Wallace

  28. #28 Andrew
    March 22, 2010

    “Cavemen had more freedom. No marxist government dictating to them to purchase a particular product or face jail time. No government telling them they could not spear an animal for supper. No government telling them how to run every aspect of their lives. People were more free. They didn;t need government run mandated “healthcare”. They grabbed up some herbs, ate their homegrown vegetables and healed themselves.”

    Yes, yes they did. They also lived in caves and had an average lifespan of less than half of ours. And faced death from horrible disease, starvation, or disembowelment. If you want to eat roots and live in a cave (although I suspect you already do the latter) quit bitching and do it. If you don’t have any income the big scary federal government won’t tax you either! Imagine that.

  29. #29 Fried Tucker
    March 22, 2010

    With the new healthcare bill, those who do not know how to heal themselves naturally will live less longer too. We face horrible disease now and big pharma and the FDA will not allow a cure to be implemented. I have lost all confidence in government and pharma. I rely on myself and my knowledge of medicinal plants and spices to heal me. Did you know Vitamin D is just as effect than your nasty and deadly H1N1 vaccine in preventing the flu? It also cuts a womam’s chances of getting breast cancer by 70% and dramatically reduces the chances of getting osteoporosis. No need for thoese killer drugs we hear being recalled all the time. Did you know that Graviola is more effectibe than chemo in breaking up tumors, yet our stinking government will not allow us to grow it here (not legally anyway)? Go ahead and put your trust in the government. I put mine in God. When government has gone and the world is desolate, God will still be there. One day Christ will come again and wipe socialists and other evils off the face of the earth. No more regualtions, no more EPA, no more tyranny, no more population control, no more liberals, no more gays, no more evil of any kind.

  30. #30 sinned34
    March 23, 2010

    Quick question, since I’m in not in the USA: up here in the Marxist Republic Of Canada (we officially changed the name shortly after the Vancouver Olympics), we are required by law to purchase insurance in order to drive a vehicle on the road. Is there no legal requirement to purchase automotive insurance in the USA? I’m just curious, since I have it on good authority that it is unconstitutional for the American government to force one of their citizens to purchase a product.

    (I would also like to add that I’m calling Poe on both Tea Turd and Fried Tucker!)

  31. #31 JohnV
    March 23, 2010

    States require insurance (all of them? presumably, but the 3 ive lived in do).

    Some people have a weird fetish about the federal government requiring things as opposed to the state government requiring things.

    I’m going to wager a guess that that’s not a factor here and they’re just dipshits.

  32. #32 tarko
    March 24, 2010

    labels are almost of no use anymore. i think of myself as conservative, but i get sick to my stomach when i hear the diatribe spewed by the right wing zealots. we need to keep like minded, pragmatic, and thoughtful people grouped together to shut down the anti-american rhetoric. the almost open racial hatred is so evident in the eyes of the likes of boehner, hannity, bachman and others. this is not america. all self-serving scum politicians should be voted out of office. pressure should be weighed upon those who permit the likes of beck and malkin to incite violence and hatred via the airwaves. not every republican,liberal,conservative, or progessive is anti-american, but the fringes whould have us think so. how about we go back to being americans, and demand that those who represent us do just that. by the way it’s the 24th already and the us has not been reduced to flammes.

  33. #33 912Photos
    March 31, 2010

    I photographed the 3/20/10 DC Tea Party as a freelance photographer and can say that racism did NOT characterize that rally, the people, or the day’s entire events — and certainly does not characterize the movement. Any such incidents that may occur at the Tea Parties are isolated, although you wouldn’t know that if you weren’t there or had to rely on the mainstream media to report accurately about the Tea Parties.

    I posted three blog posts, including photos and an audio slideshow, regarding the 3/20/10 DC Tea Party addressing the Tea Party people, the health-care reform bill and the charges of racism. My latest blog post is titled: “Are Tea Party Conservatives Racists?” and can be found at:

    http://912photos.com/are-tea-party-conservatives-racists.html

    A full photo gallery of the 3/20/10 DC Tea Party is coming up in the next post. The photos reveal spirited citizen dissent — not racism or bigotry.

    Deb Phillips
    Documenting America’s 9|12 Spirit
    http://912Photos.com

  34. #34 seslichatailesi
    May 18, 2010

    How is any of this a surprise? This has been going on since before the election. In fact, things haven’t changed much from the 1950′s… until now these people kept their racism out of the public, but now that foxnews and the republicans say it’s ok (after all, we have a black president, there’s no such thing as bigotry anymore), they’re free to be themselves in public.

  35. #35 Fortune Articles
    November 15, 2010

    The role of cultural education in reducing racism in Aboriginal health care situations in Australia.

  36. #36 Mark
    December 17, 2010

    Why do people of the “Left” make everything out to be a racist thing?

    The only ones preoccupied with racism all the time are the Democrats and their supporters.

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