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There is a good article about the recent GOP/Tea Party health care protests in the New York Times. It traces the roots of the disrespectful anger of the Tea Party directly to GOP strategists and pundits. Writer Bob Herbert takes on the Tea Party protesters and their disrespect of Blacks, gays and the handicapped and places the responsibility squarely on the shoulder of the Republican party.

A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”

Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, “I’ll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot.”

Herbert would also discuss the incidents where Rep. John Lewis was called the n-word and Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver was spat on and put part of the blame on the GOP for encouraging the behavior.

It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.

For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.

Herbert would go on to criticize the GOP for their actions both before and after Obama’s election for their support of extremist talk radio hosts.

This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.

Herbert placed specific blame on Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee for referring to President Obama as a “racist” and a “communist.” He would also criticize the GOP for using issues like abortion, immigration and gay marriage to distract the country while they waged two wars and lowered taxes on the rich, something he called a “horribly destructive policy.”

Herbret concluded by comparing the anti-health care protesters to the anti-Civil Rights protesters of the 1960s.

If the GOP wants legitimate discourse and debate about foreign and domestic issues, they must stop promoting and condoning hatred and racism. Is their any leader in the GOP who is willing to take on the racism and bigotry in the party?


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