Gay activist Cleve Jones appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday
to discuss comments by House speaker Nancy Pelosi that connected
today's extremist political rhetoric and the assassination of Harvey Milk in 1978.
Jones spoke with Maddow about earlier statements by Pelosi that compared the "very frightening rhetoric" of the health care reform debate to the late-1970s climate in which San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated.
Maddow asked Jones, a confidant and protege of Milk's, whether he thought this "rare and striking" observation by Speaker Pelosi was appropriate.
"I certainly do," said Jones, "and I certainly understand the speaker's emotion on this issue as one who was there that day and saw what the bullets did. It's hard not to hear the resonance again in the words, in the actions, in the signs that we're seeing all over the place right now."
"It's important for people to understand that this kind of rhetoric, many times in the past in our country, has led to violence," he said.
Jones, who is spearheading the National Equality March next month, also alluded to the event, although he did not specifically describe its purpose. "I'm going to be marching in Washington on October 11," he said.
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