For Immediate Release
Mary Boyle, Common Cause, (202) 736-5770
Congressional Leadership Must Jointly Denounce Incendiary Talk and Violence
Palin must cease violent rhetoric toward health care supporters
WASHINGTON - Common Cause calls on the leadership of the House Democrats and House Republicans to hold a joint bi-partisan press conference immediately to denounce the incendiary language and threats of violence and actual violence against those who voted in support of health care reform.
In addition, Common Cause also calls on Sarah Palin to cease her violent rhetoric – “Don’t retreat, instead reload” – and remove the gun imagery around a list of 20 congressional Democrats who supported health care reform and whose congressional districts appear to be caught in a rifle’s crosshair in an offensive and inappropriate visual on her political action committee website.
“It’s time to restore civility and decency to public debate,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “We are all Americans, even when we disagree.”
Common Cause also calls on the leaders of the Tea Party movement to call on its members to stop the heated rhetoric and threats.
Violence and threats of violence have been reported throughout the nation this week in the wake of the passage of the historic health care reform bill. Among a few of them, Rep. Bart Stupak has received death threats on an answering machine, at least four Democratic congressional offices outside of Washington have been vandalized, including the upstate New York office of Rep. Louise Slaughter. The brother of Rep.Tom Periello of Virginia had a gas line slashed at his home.
Democratic and Republican leaders are reportedly conflicted on how to deal with it. But their silence signals consent to those who may consider such action, as Rep. James Clyburn said Wednesday on the House floor.
“Our political system is based on a belief in ballots, not bullets, votes, not violence,” said Edgar. “We call on every member of Congress to denounce the despicable violence and threats of violence. To advocate violence – even jokingly or metaphorically – against your political opponents expresses contempt not just for them but for our democracy."
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.