14 October 2008

This is My Country, Land that I Love

I just didn't know it. There have been a lot of articles in the past several days on race in America as the McCain-Palin ticket has turned into a hate-mongering, violence-supporting attack machine. Now we've come to understand Palin meant by her prescient comment that she is a "pit bull with lipstick". She's leading the charge to lynch a presidential candidate.

Think I"m over-exaggerating? Check out this advertisement (above) published on a conservative blog (since pulled, but now be commented on more liberal blogs). h/t Feministing Or this protest sign seen outside a Toledo rally for Obama. h/t FiveThirtyEight.

You know you've gone too far when your supporters--both of them (*cough*Rove and Feingold* cough)--begin to tut-tut you on your campaign tactics.

But I was unaware until I had read many articles on these events that it was bloggers and not the mainstream media (hereafter MSM) that brought the mob-mentality/hate-speech going on at M-P rallies to the public's attention. Why isn't it newsworthy when attendees at a political rally are whipped into a froth and threaten to kill the opponent and injure cameramen? Was the MSM going to bring it up AFTER someone had been maimed or killed?

There are two points I want to make about this. The first is that everyone gets that McCain's disgust over the hate-speech toward Obama is feigned. That is why it continues unabated at his rallies. There are times in life when failure to speak up, speak out, and put your f'in foot down is to give your de facto seal of approval. That's where McCain is now. When the media said that McCain would do anything to win, I didn't realize they actually meant anything. I don't get his tactics. I don't believe there are enough bigots in this country to elect him president. IMO, his campaign made two fatal flaws. First and foremost was his selection of Palin as VP. I know hard-core, lifelong Republicans who are sitting out this election because of her. The second was this "anything goes" approach because he's down in the polls. You could almost hear the moderates scatter as he clicked the shotgun back together and vowed to "take the gloves off". His campaign is done. Kaput. He might as well concede today. His only achievement now is to divide our country in a way that will reverse 35 years of gains made in civil rights, racial equality, and human dignity. For this he should be rightly vilified. I honestly hope that he has the next 20 years to consider the impacts of his behavior, because his behavior is having significant impacts on the nation.

The second point I want to make is about the MSM not reporting on this initially. If it weren't for the ubiquitous nature of bloggers, we might never have heard about the race-baiting going on in a national presidential campaign. You have no idea how that blows my mind when I actually think about it. But, if you consider that the MSM travels with the candidates on planes, trains and buses financed by the campaign, doesn't it stand to reason that a reporter wouldn't want to risk his or her seat on the campaign trail (and access to the candidate) by pointing out something so damaging to the candidate? Our independent media is not living up to their mandate. And they most certainly are not independent.

Finally, I want to say that the hate-speech does more than simply attack Obama. Claiming that Obama is a terrorist because his family background includes Muslims or because it includes Africans or because he's a member of the black community or from Chicago or whatever finger-pointing seeds of doubt McCain attempts to sow--none of this is without broader impacts. Every finger he jabs toward Obama points a damning finger at every single Muslim/black/African-American/Chicagoan/etc in this country. If Muslim=terrorist, then where does the damning end? McCain's tactics threaten to take us back to that sad and scary moment following the 9/11 attacks when roving bands of teenagers attacked anyone who was remotely brown. Remember when Hindus were getting beaten in the streets for wearing turbans? Remember when mosques were being spray-painted with hate messages? Do we really want to go back there? Khaled Hosseini wrote an excellent editorial in the WaPo Sunday pointing out the danger in McCain's behavior. Even GWB, who is a complete idiot, spoke out against violence against Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent. McCain is screaming "fire" in a crowded movie theater. He must know that his words have impact. Apparently, he doesn't mind being a complete and utter dick.

Oh, and one last thing. I've heard plenty of people "defend" Barack Obama against these accusations of his being a Muslim. They say in an entirely exasperated voice, "but he's a Christian!" IMO, it doesn't matter. Being a Muslim is not some sort of indictment. Muslim is not a dirty word. Extremism might be. And that includes all you intolerant Ohio Christians against baby-murdering Muslims". Own the intolerance, jerk.

Six months ago, I actually said these words out loud: "I want Obama to win, sure, but I could live with any of the three remaining candidates" (Obama, Clinton, and McCain). That man just made me eat my words. I apologize world. I don't support the bigot. He owns those people he's encouraging. He owns that advert. He owns the hate. Own it, asshole.


  1. I don't know that I think McCain owns it -- it was there before, he's just renting it. I don't think he's a bigot, either. He's just a cocky, deeply desperate old man who wants to be president or -- or NOTHING. I don't think he feels there's any choice but to do anything and everything he can; he's been walking down this road of renouncing his former ideals at least since 2004 when he sucked it up and worked on getting his head up Bush's ass. Now that that was worthless, he's spent time getting his head up the only available ass left, his own.

    In terms of presidential politics, he does "own" this anger he's inciting. But it's important to note that it was there on its own for him to buy, and all it needed was code words -- not even outright exhortation -- to come to fore. If the gains of the past decades of civil rights can be undone by this ridiculously flailing by a sinking candidate, then I think those gains were not as real as we thought they were. The fact that it's on display now to me means that it was already there.

  2. I think by his own failure to stop it in its tracks, he owns it.

    As for the other, I sort of look on racism as a sliding scale. Perhaps not the best analogy, but think of it as the road toward atheism. You start out indoctrinated. You are religious. You buy it lock, stock, and barrel. After a while, you begin to question. You question a lot. Pretty soon it dawns on you that you aren't buying a great deal of it, but you keep up the facade because you don't want to draw attention to yourself. Then it is obvious that you are only pretending to be religious to pacify other people. So then you wiggle out onto the agnostic platform and ignore the problem for a while. You ain't for or a'gain it. Then one day, it dawns on you that absolutely nothing in your life has changed by doubting the existence of god and you realize that you are a flat-out athetist. I think that most of America is somewhere along the early part of that continuum with respect to race. Gains can be made and gains can be lost. What McCain and especially Palin are doing is actively trying to erase those gains and take us back to a time when outright racism and discrimination were the norm, not the exception.

    They own it. You betcha they own it.