House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says hate-filled rhetoric over President Barack Obama’s health care reform proposals could fuel a dangerous increase in violence.
Pelosi told reporters that the tone of the debate over health care is “frightening” and reminds her of the angry, hate-filed rhetoric over gay rights that emerged in San Francisco in the 1970s and led to the the murders of city Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
Pelosi said those spewing the hate rhetoric will be responsible for any “incitement” they results from the tone of the debate.
Public, often hate-filled, anger during health care town hall meetings in August landed in the House of Representatives last week when South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” at Obama during his speech. On a largely party-line vote, the House reprimanded Wilson.
Former President Jimmy Carter said Wilson’s comments and other hate-speak stem from racism.