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In the faces of Tea Party shouters, images of hate and history

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McWhorter wrote how Wallace, in a 1963 speech to the political arm of Alabama's Ku Klux Klan, "referred to the recent bombings in Birmingham against prominent black citizens, citing the lack of fatalities as proof that the 'nigras' were throwing the dynamite themselves in order to attract publicity and money."

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Fast-forward to today. Note the pro-Tea Party conservative commentary debunking last weekend's racist and homophobic slurs as a work of fiction and exaggeration strictly for political reasons. Noticeable, too, is the influence of George Wallace, Limbaugh, Beck and their followers on outcomes.

The angry '50s and '60s crowds threatened and intimidated; some among them even murdered. That notwithstanding, Americans of goodwill gathered in the White House to witness the signing of landmark civil rights laws.

Schoolhouse doors were blocked, and little children were demeaned. Yet the bigots didn't get the last word. Justice rolled down like a mighty river, sweeping them aside.

They insulted, abused, lied and vandalized. Still, President Obama fulfilled his promise to sign historic health-care reform into law by the end of his first term.

Those angry faces won't go away. But neither can they stand in the way of progress.

The mobs of yesteryear were on the wrong side of history. Tea Party supporters and their right-wing fellow travelers are on the wrong side now. It shows up in their faces.

kingc@washpost.com


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