By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst
March 24, 2010 – The United States is going to be hard pressed to criticize the terrorist acts of fear and intimidation around the world if threats of violence continue against members of Congress. These folks claiming to be opposed to a law created by the same Democratic process they once hailed civil and just; but not anymore?
It’s alarming to hear members of Congress were briefed on Tuesday by the Capitol Hill Police and the FBI on a number of serious threats and a plan to insure the safety of our leaders and their families.
What is happening now has little to do with policy or politics; this is personal and teeters on domestic terrorism.
These assaults on our elected officials in recent days aren’t about health care reform. They have been racist, homophobic and nurtured by ignorance and intolerance. I spoke with staffers who locked their office doors on Saturday because they feared for thier safety.
Law enforcement is not disclosing the number of threats or the specifics on at least 10 they deemed serious. While some have been reported by the media other threats appear to cross race, gender and geographical boundaries.
A threat against a member of Congress is a federal offence but an even greater offence is the deafening silence from more Republicans condemning the behavior. One staffer told me, “Republicans aren’t decrying these actions.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a statement, “I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill and that Washington democrats just aren’t listening.”
“ But, as I’ve said, violence and threats are unacceptable. Call your congressman. Go out and register people to vote. Go volunteer on a political campaign. Make your voice heard, but let’s do it the right way,” Boehner wrote.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told CNN Wednesday the right way to bring about calm would be with a bipartisan message to the people. “I think the leadership of both houses — democrats and republicans, need to show unanimity on this issue, and let’s begin to work together to tamp this down.”
Clyburn organized civil rights protest in 1960’s, “I think if you do it in a bipartisan way, it will send a signal out there to those people that neither one of us will condone what they’re doing. “
I hope something will be done before someone is hurt or killed.
Do you think these threats are related to the passage of health care reform?