A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a ["nigger"] And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protesters shouted at him with deliberately lispy screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.
But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.
"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit-ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. 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."Homophobia and racism are pervasive social forces, and fear and anxiety often bring out the worst biases in people. Hence, these developments, though quite disturbing, are not shocking. Furthermore, the Tea Party movement began its healthcare protests in a circus-like atmosphere; apparently, things will remain that way until the bitter end.