GOP can't explain away racist remarks from tea partiers

March 24, 2010

Regarding the reprehensible racist comments spewed by Tea party members on Sunday, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio said, "The comments were "reprehensible and should not have happened, but let's not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of Americans are scared to death" ("'Tea party' activists plan to fight on," March 24).

This excuse sounds eerily reminiscent of President Bush's dismissal of abuses at Abu Ghraib, abuses that were the direct result of interrogation policies that were instituted by the President. Republican House members and senators for months have encouraged the types of vile behavior seen on Sunday by not thoroughly denouncing it. Their tacit endorsement has only encouraged it.

Mr. Boehner's comment that it was " a few isolated incidents " is disingenuous at best. It strains credulity to know that in 2010, nearly a half century after John Lewis endured the horrible racism that culminated in the assassination of Martin Luther King, Representative Lewis would yet again have to hear such hatred uttered in our nation's capital.

The tea party's thin veneer of an excuse of opposing health care reform masks a much deeper and darker reality that racism is still very much alive in this country. Thankfully, younger generations embrace our multi-cultural society, and we can look forward to a more tolerant world, despite the shameful persistence of those mired in the past. I only wish that the world that John Lewis has worked for was already upon us and we did not have to keep looking forward to that day.

Tim Eastman, Baltimore

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