The Republican party apparatus and members of the Republican and conservative leadership - GOP members of Congress, conservative media leaders and the Republican National Committee - have blood on their hands for the violence, racism and bigotry now being spread by so-called tea party activists and political opponents of the President.  Try to deny it as they may, but they have whipped people up into a frenzy and encouraged destructive behavior rather than constructive criticism.

Since health reform - that is now law - has come closer and closer to reality, the opponents have gotten more agitated, more angry, more disruptive and more violent.  First, there was the use of racial epithets, homophobic comments, and spitting on members of Congress.  Republican members of Congress came out to egg on these crowds, and took to the floor of the House to shout "baby-killer."

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Simultaneously started the violence. New York Rep. Louise Slaughter's office in upstate New York had a brick thrown through the window. Since then, at least five Democratic offices - including offices of members of Congress - have been vandalized.

vandalism at Dem offices
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Members of Congress who supported health reform are receiving death threats, along with their children.

Make no mistake - these types of things are incited by supercharged conservative rhetoric, from the likes of Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others - from their usual recklessness to attacking children. Because if you think this is just a fringe element, you are dead wrong.  Former House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey, now working for corporate lobby-funded FreedomWorks, is a key leader in this "fringe." The Republican National Committee is pushing their "Fire Pelosi" fundraiser with a literally inflammatory image showing the speaker in flames.

GOP setting fire on Pelosi image

Republican Congressman Rndy Neugebauer is raising money off of his "baby-killer" comment. As conservative bloggers are threatening gun violence against the President and members of Congress, Sarah Palin helps along by placing rifle targets on Democrats in certain seats.

Palin puts rifle targets on Democrats

In the past year, we have seen right wing nutjobs assassinate a women's health care provider and open fire at the National Holocaust Museum. And now at the passage of historic reform, we are this close to someone actually getting hurt once again.

What's going on on the right - the violence, the vandalism, the racism, the homophobia, the bigotry - are not the sole problem of a fringe element. The Republican party apparatus as a whole, Republican members of Congress, and conservative talk-show hosts and some opinion leaders have blood on their hands. For the sake of our country, for our union, for our common humanity, for peace, justice and the American way, the Republican and conservative leaders must put an end to this. For the sake of the country we love, they must push back strongly and be the adults here. They must denounce these attacks in the strongest, most unequivocal and most unqualified terms, sever any ties with the types of rhetoric inciting these attacks and separate themselves from the extremist tea party groups. If they don't, this beast will not leave them alone, either.

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Amidst violence, lip service is not leadership

The story of health reform, in photos