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Short but disturbing diary:

Representative John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who is black, was called a racial epithet, according to Kristie Greco, a spokeswoman for Clyburn. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat who is black, was spat upon, Greco said.

Neither Lewis nor Cleaver responded immediately to requests for comment. [Emphasis added] Bloomberg

(Also reported by ThinkProgress.)

A HuffPo story also reported this, describing it as "mild physical abuse."

EXCUSE ME? Mild? What kind of adjective is that to describe a physical assault, any kind of physical assault, on a United States Representative going about the people's business within the halls of Congress?

I won't say this is getting out of hand. It got out of hand a long time ago, when Republican party leaders closed their eyes and smiled a bit as the likes of Beck and El Lardo, and some among their own ranks such as Bachman, started making noises about violence and rebellion if the majority Democrats didn't yield to them.

This has gone beyond insanity, even of the batshit variety. This is contrary to everything the United States of America stands for, what our Founding Fathers struggled to create, what generations of men and women have fought and bled and died to preserve. And we are now on the verge of throwing it all away, because the GOP is having a sustained temper tantrum because the Democrats are actually doing something for the country and which the country elected them to do.

It is to weep.

"For they sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind." Hosea 8:14

Rep. Cleaver's office just issued this statement:

This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The Congressman would like to thank the US Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the others Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care. After all the Members were safe, a full report was taken and the matter was handled by the US Capitol Police. The man who spat on the Congressman was arrested, but the Congressman has chosen not to press charges. He has left the matter with the Capitol Police.

This is not the first time the Congressman has been called the "n" word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in his years fighting for equal rights for all Americans. That being said, he is disappointed that in the 21st century our national discourse has devolved to the point of name calling and spitting. He looks forward to taking a historic vote on health care reform legislation tomorrow, for the residents of the Fifth District of Missouri and for all Americans. He believes deeply that tomorrow's vote is, in fact, a vote for equality and to secure health care as a right for all. Our nation has a history of struggling each time we expand rights. Today's protests are no different, but the Congressman believes this is worth fighting for. Posted at TPM

Originally posted to DanK Is Back on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 03:23 PM PDT.

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