Racist Messages, Attacks Infect Health Care Debate

Rep. David Scott of Georgia i i

Georgia Rep. David Scott has been receiving racist faxes after a town hall last week. Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
Rep. David Scott of Georgia

Georgia Rep. David Scott has been receiving racist faxes after a town hall last week.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

First, there were the protesters attempting to inject chaos into town hall meetings about the president's proposed health care overhaul. Then came the false rumors that the health care bill encourages seniors to end their lives early. And now, racist messages and acts of vandalism have infected the debate.

Democratic Rep. David Scott of Georgia tells NPR that one of his district offices was vandalized with a 4-foot swastika. It was spray-painted on the door of his office in Smyrna, Ga., on Tuesday.

The act of vandalism came 10 days after Scott engaged in a verbal confrontation with protesters at a town hall debate where President Obama's health care overhaul plan was discussed. Scott, who is black, says race has become the undertone of the health care debate.

Racially Charged Messages Sent to Rep. David Scott

Rep. Scott forwarded these messages to NPR following his recent interview with host Michel Martin.

WARNING: Contains racially offensive material. Viewer discretion is advised.

"Racism, unfortunately, is part of the fabric of America's society," Scott said.

Scott has received racist messages via fax. In one missive, a picture of Obama was painted to make him like The Joker from Batman. It was accompanied by a caption reading, "Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!" The message goes on to address Scott with a racist epithet.

Scott is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and was told in a separate fax that he is "racist because whites are denied membership" in the caucus. The fax also says that Scott will lose re-election next year and "any of [his] color constituents ain't gonna stop it. The folks are not going to stand for Obama's socialized medicine even though most negroes refuse to stand on their own two-feet."

"Race plays so much in everything we do," Scott said. But he believes that a nation that just elected its first African-American president is capable of having a civil discussion about revamping health care.

"We must make a commitment not to allow racism or swastikas or any of this stuff that is coming in this debate to win," Scott said.

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