Steve King has done it again in failing to represent the common decency of Iowans. All Americans, including voters in his home state, should be outraged. The time simply has come for Steve King to be voted out of office to restore dignity and respect to Iowa's Fifth Congressional district.
On Saturday, at a Code Red rally, a group of protesters harassed three Black Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a hero of the civil rights movement, yelling the N-word at them as they walked to the Capitol to hear the President's final speech on healthcare reform. One black lawmaker was spat upon, and inside, protestors shouted "faggot" and "homo" to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), as the group laughed.
Roll Call quoted Rep. Carson who walked alongside Rep. Lewis, as enraged protestors shouted the N-word multiple times. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) told reporters that the abusive behavior and racial slurs reminded him of the civil rights demonstrations in the 60s. "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," he said.
On Sunday, several Republican lawmakers including Rep. Mike Pence (IN) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH) condemned the teapartier's actions when asked about the racist and bigoted statements.
In contrast, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who was a featured speaker at the event, commented on the racial and gay slurs being hurled at Democratic congressmen and said: "I just don't think it's anything. ... There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn't walk through. I wouldn't live to get to the other end of it." King elaborated. To focus on a few incidents is "embellishing something that is determined to undermine the people."
It is outrageous that an elected representative of the U.S. Congress much less one from Iowa, a state of fair-minded individuals, would fail to condemn such actions. Racial and bigoted comments have no place in our country, regardless of one's viewpoint on the healthcare debate and should simply be condemned. It is incomprehensible that Steve King fundamentally does not understand this.
King's comments certainly would be condemned in a state such as Alabama or Mississippi and the question remains why Iowans, who are known through America for their morality and decency, allow Steve King to continue to represent them.
King also recently made similar insensitive and controversial remarks when he empathisized with the domestic terrorist that flew a plane into the federal building in Austin killing a civil servant who had served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
An account of the exchange follows:
Reporter: Do you think this attack, this terrorist attack, was motivated at all by a lot of the anti-tax rhetoric that's popular in America right now?
KING: I think if we'd abolished the IRS back when I first advocated it, he wouldn't have a target for his airplane. And I'm still for abolishing the IRS, I've been for it for thirty years and I'm for a national sales tax. [...] It's sad the incident in Texas happened, but by the same token, it's an agency that is unnecessary and when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the IRS, it's going to be a happy day for America.
Reporter: So some of his grievances were legitimate?
KING: I don't know if his grievances were legitimate, I've read part of the material. I can tell you I've been audited by the IRS and I've had the sense of 'why is the IRS in my kitchen.' Why do they have their thumb in the middle of my back. ... It is intrusive and we can do a better job without them entirely.
King's comments with regard to both incidents is shockingly inadequate and reflects the viewpoints of a man who fails miserably as a leader in the great state of Iowa.
Not only does King not condemn acts that cry out for condemnation, he hasn't done much in the seven years he's been in office either. In the seven years, King's been in Congress, King and his staff of 18 individuals have not produced one bill that has been enacted into law.
The time simply has come for Steve King to be voted out of office to restore the dignity and respect to Iowa's Fifth Congressional district.
Follow Matthew Campbell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/campbell_IA5th