Thursday, Sept 17th, 2009
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s eyes watered Thursday as she called for the rhetorical heat to be turned down across the country, and warned that such words can lead to violence — a phenomenon she witnessed herself in San Francisco.
“I think we all have to take responsibility for our actions and our words. We are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance,” she said.
“I saw,” she added, choking up, “I saw this myself in the late seventies in San Francisco. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening and it gave–it created a climate in which violence took place.”
Riots in San Francisco in the seventies were punctuated by police beatings and assassinations, most notably of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.
Milk was the first openly gay elected official in California and was shot by former supervisor and arch-conservative Dan White.
“I wish that we all again would curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, with the understanding that some of the ears this is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume,” Pelosi said.
She stressed again that people are free to speak out. “But I also think they have to take responsibility for any incitement they may cause,” she said.
Republicans Denounce Pelosi for Warning Against ‘Incitement’
Thursday, Sept 17th, 2009
The House Republicans’ top campaign chief strongly denounced Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments that appeared to question whether today’s angry conservative protests were similar to anti-gay rallies in the late 1970s that preceded the assassination of two San Francisco political leaders.
Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Pelosi crossed the line when she related the rhetoric of anti-gay protesters in San Francisco in 1978 — the year Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the city’s board of supervisors, and his political ally, Mayor George Moscone, were killed by former supervisor Dan White — to that of contemporary conservatives while answering a question about the protests against President Obama’s health-care proposals.
“The Speaker is now likening genuine opposition to assassination. Such insulting rhetoric not only undermines the credibility of her office, but it underscores the desperate attempt by her party to divert attention away from a failing agenda,” Sessions said in a statement. “During one of the most important policy debates of our time, the American people have been completely abandoned by those elected representatives under her control. Voters are justifiably frustrated with Washington, and the Speaker’s verbal assault on voters accomplishes nothing other than furthering her reputation for being wildly out of touch with the American people.”
This article was posted: Friday, September 18, 2009 at 4:39 am