05/26/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What's Really Behind the Health Care Hate?

Can it really be that health care reform in and of itself is the true cause of the massive vitriolic rage spewing from conservatives today? Is the Tea Party movement really about runaway government spending? Have the chilling faces of hate seen at protests across America truly been about a public option? If you ask me, it has way more to do with an ugly truth that few are willing to acknowledge: it's about a bunch of angry, bigoted white racists who see reform as little more than a black president doling out more welfare to other blacks and minorities (as the photo below, which is all over the 'net, suggests).
It's shocking to me to witness this rage over health care reform when not a peep's been uttered by these right-wing loons for the past seven years over an unjust war in Iraq that's killed thousands of U.S. soldiers, wounded and maimed tens of thousands of others, and squandered nearly a trillion dollars. Health care reform is what's heatedly brought these heretofore silent Americans into the political ring? I'm not buyin' it, sorry. Once again, racism is rearing its ugly head. Have you seen these protesters? The things they do and say? Shouting racial epithets and anti-gay slurs, and spitting at lawmakers. So angry that blood vessels are popping in their necks. Faces contorted in hatred. Screaming like animals and calling for the deaths of elected Democrats. All over health care? Really? Have we become so politically correct as a nation as to be so afraid to call this shameful behavior exactly what it is? Not me. This blatant racism makes me sick, and I'm not afraid to call it out.

The grass roots bigotry mobs first surfaced during the 2008 presidential campaign, and included the birthers (denying President Obama's citizenship) and those who attacked him and Michelle on every conceivable despicable level. The post-election movement picked up steam during last Summer's Town Hall meetings where the flames of intense anger and hatred were recklessly stoked. Almost one year and the passage of the reform bill later, and things have sadly and shamefully gotten much worse.

Former Alaska Governor and GOP presidential running-mate Sarah Palin has become perhaps the biggest perpetrator of rabble-rousing hate-speak more than anyone save for media blowhard Rush Limbaugh. She started this campaign during the election when she relentlessly incited her ignorant lemming base with claims that Obama was a radical socialist who palled around with terrorists. This week she announced her "target list" of vulnerable Democrats, marking a U.S. map with reprehensible rifle-scope bulls eyes of the districts she believes are in play. "Don't retreat, re-load," she urges. Is she speaking in code to the psychos who showed up at Obama rallies last year with rifles and machine guns?

This ruthless campaign of disrespect and hate continued and built momentum last fall when Rep. Joe Wilson (SC) barked "You lie" during Obama's address to Congress when he assured that the health care bill would not cover illegal aliens.

More recently, in the House Chamber during last week's health care debate, Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer shouted "baby killer" as Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, who reversed his vote on the measure after receiving a compromise over the controversial abortion-funding issue, took the podium.

This week alone, in the wake of the reform bill's passage, there've been numerous verbal attacks, acts of vandalism and death threats aimed at Democrats. A caller to Stupak's office left this outrageously offensive message in the lawmaker's office:

"Ah yes, um, congressman Stupak, you baby-killin' turncoat son-of-a-bitch piece of shit. I hope you bleed out your ass, get cancer and die, you motherfucker. You do do not say that you're pro-life and then for a few bucks, go turncoat and hurt the country, you motherfucking piece of shit. You bastard. Motherfucker. I hope you die."

A female caller left this voicemail on Arizona Rep. Harry Mitchell's machine: "Hi Mr. Mitchell. For the rest of your life, with the vote that you cast, you are going to have to look over your shoulder for as long as you live in this district. You are always going to have to look over your fucking shoulder because people in your district hate your fucking face. And don't you forget it. You have riled up peoples' rage. We are filled with rage and hate, today, towards you, hate like we have never, ever felt. I love my insurance company, and to have you come in between me and my fucking doctor. I cannot tell you how much I wish a panty bomber would come, would come in and just blow your fucking place up." Listen to her venomous rage. It'd perhaps be 1/10th understandable if she had a fucking clue what the hell she was talking about, which makes these attacks even more infuriating and shocking.

In Brooklyn Thursday, FBI hazmat crews were dispatched to New York Rep. Anthony Weiner's office after he received an envelope containing a suspicious white powder. Additionally, Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello's brother's house was vandalized after conservative blogs incorrectly identified it as belonging to the Congressman.

And what does ubiquitous House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (VA) have to say about these despicable acts waged against the opposition? "It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain....By ratcheting up the rhetoric, some will only inflame these situations to dangerous levels." So let's get this straight: Cantor's chosen to condemn what he believes is the left's exploitation of these heinous acts, not the actual acts themselves. Talk about posturing for political gain.

Adding insult to injury, Fox's resident wackjob Glenn Beck accused Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats of trying to get themselves killed for political expediency's sake: "I can guarantee you they walked out and said...what the hell do you have to do to these people to get them to kill us?"

Jeez Louise, what the hell is wrong with these people? Have they all gone mad? It's become abundantly clear that the Republican Party has been utterly hijacked by its far, far, far right-wing fringe lunatic faction. And the only notable voice of reason on the right to highlight this dangerous, suicidal behavior is former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, who was fired Thursday from conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute a day after he had the balls to criticize his own party in an op-ed piece for CNN: "We went the radical way looking for Waterloo and it looks like we arrived at Waterloo." There's obviously no room in the party for voices of reason.

When will the madness stop, when the incendiary rhetoric and violent metaphors turn to actual horrific violence? Before the unthinkable occurs, the leaders of the Republican Party -- Cantor, Rep. John Boehner, Sen. Mitch McConnell, RNC Chair Michael Steele, etc -- have a moral obligation and civic duty to put an end to the hate speak flame-fanning amongst the electorate and within its own ranks. Enough's enough.