Dear Mr. Steele, Senator McConnell, Congressman Boehner:
I'm outraged by the hateful acts that occurred this weekend in Washington, and I'm writing to demand that you take decisive action in tamping down the hateful atmosphere that exists in a major element of your party's grassroots support.
I'm glad that some of you have condemned the specific acts that occurred -- but this weekend's incidents are not isolated, as you have maintained. They are part of a deep pattern of violent rhetoric, racially charged imagery, and paranoid conspiracy theories at Tea Party rallies.
Elected officials in your party have spoken to crowds at these rallies since they began, and your party consistently seeks their support. Republican officials have not only refused to take any responsibility for controlling the dangerous atmosphere that has arisen -- many of you have encouraged and inflamed it with baseless fear-mongering that plays to the worst instincts in our society.
I'm calling on you to do two things:
- Unequivocally condemn bigotry and hate among your supporters, and make clear that those who embrace it have no place in your party and that you reject their support
- Make clear that you will not tolerate fear-mongering and coded appeals to racism from officials in the Republican party, at any level.
It is your responsibility to take real leadership in addressing this problem, and no one should have to ask you to do so. For the good of our democracy, our country -- even your own political party -- you must act.