Hanging their signs, Republican members looked like they were trying to incite a riot on the steps of the Capitol. They became the cheerleaders for extremism. The screaming, the yelling, the spitting, the racist and homophobic comments repeated over and over were not “a select few.” They were a direct result of a strategy started last year by the right-wing extremists to fan the flames of hate, to replace civil dialogue and debate with epithets and over-the-top rhetoric and actions. 

It was the ultimate in hypocrisy for BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director MORE and others to try and distance themselves from what they have been creating this past year — the Republicans’ plan all along was to disrupt town meetings, to yell over members of Congress, to be in their face. 

The American people are seeing this on their televisions every night, much like the black-and-white footage during the civil rights era, and they reject the politics of extremism and hate.

The truly scary thing to me, watching these crowds and the extremist rhetoric from our elected Republican officials, is that real violence can easily ensue. When one party demonizes the other, when the venom is directed at President Obama or Speaker Pelosi, this is over the top. 

It is time for Republicans to call out their own and stand tall to stop the vitriol. It is time for members of the House and Senate Republican conferences to have the courage to take on the extremists and those who, in a real sense, are putting people’s lives in danger. It is not just smart politics, it is common decency and critical to ratchet down the nastiness of the public discourse. The time to act is now.