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Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted "nigger" Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s. - William Douglas, McClatchy Newspapers

So as not to abuse the Fair Usage law, click on the title for the whole article.

Mr. Douglas gives a fair, even-tempered overview of the racism and homophobia that's obviously at the root of this Tea Party movement. And, ironically, when Tea Partyers insist this isn't about health care, they're right. It's about race and, to a lesser extent, uncommon but legitimate sexual orientation.

Let's try an experiment: Next time a progressive blogger gets on TV opposite, say, Andrew Sullivan and/or GOP Chairman Michael Steele, try making race-based, homophobic remarks. Call Sullivan a "faggot" and Steele a "nigger." Yell and scream on top of them when they try to make their points. Lace your diatribes with patently untrue propaganda. Demand that Sen. John McCain produce his birth certificate from the Panama Canal. Bring the American flag to the sound stage and crow about the North beating the South in the civil war and the virtues of Socialist ideology.

Now, see how long it'll be before you're invited back on that show or on any nationally televised program. You personally would lose credibility and the progressive movement as a whole would lose a lot of credibility as a result.

So why are these Tea Partyers getting put on television day after day, night after night in spite of resorting to physical thuggery, calling members of the Congressional Black Caucus "nigger" and Congressman Barney Frank a "homo" and "faggot"? Why are their astroturf talking points fed to them by Dick Armey and the health care behemoths that subsidize him still patiently and respectfully listened to?

Why haven't these screaming, Danny Boyle zombies been discredited, yet? They've had a year to show us what they're made of, a whole year to conclusively prove that they're racist windbags who haven't a single valid counterpoint to contribute to the health care debate.

The equally idea-bankrupt Republican Party, when not actually helping to whip these idiots into a frenzy, are just as complicit in not calling for order and respect because they don't want to lose their vote, despite that many so-called moderate Republicans have long ago lost many of their votes. The Republicans have had an even longer period of time to show us how hollow they are.

Yet the Democrats are already jittery that they'll actually lose some seats in both chambers, a fact the press is gleefully reporting.

It's obvious the same rules don't apply to both sides. Day after day, these Confederate flag waving, erstwhile white supremacists and their misspelled signs keep getting put on TV and getting free publicity as if they're the vanguard of the French or American revolution.

Yet if we were to engage in the same tactics such as calling an African American Republican member of Congress (not that there's any such thing) a "nigger", continually get our facts wrong and talking about an emerging Socialist state that simply doesn't exist (the compromised and corporate-friendly HCR bill that will further concentrate wealth in the upper economic strata, in fact, is the exact opposite), we would've been discredited in a heartbeat on conservative blogs and on Fox "News" and laughed off one sound stage after another. We would've been treated like the passing fad that we would have been.

So how come the same rules don't apply to the Tea Baggers, a rabid, ignorant faction that, whether or not they intend to, seems bound and determined to catapult us back to the pre-Civil Rights days when African Americans were forced to sit in the back of the bus and were kept from voting?
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