Thursday, October 9, 2008

Playing with fire

The increasingly disturbing McCain campaign rehtoric and the subsequent outbursts of truly violent cries at their rallies is something that has been worrying me quite a bit this week. I understand that the McCain campaign is in desperate straits and that they feel their only option is to attack. That said their attacks are so reckless that I honestly fear that they are on the cusp of provoking some sort of violent outburst from their base. 

Barack Obama is not a terrorist. He does not "pal around" with terrorists. The accusations being bandied about by McCain's campaign are reckless to say the least. If Barack Obama is a terrorist as they imply then it's not too great a leap to see where cries of "Terrorist," "Kill him," "Treason," or "Off with his head," (all of which have been very loudly proclaimed at McCain events this week) could easily move from mere verbal outbursts to an unthinkable act. 

That the McCain campaign seems to be completely indifferent to the consequences of their rhetoric is distrubing. They truly are playing with fire. Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic draws the obvious historical corrollary to the assasination of Martin Luther King

But I've been thinking about this McCain-Palin Obama "palling around with terrorist" idea more lately. The saddest thing about many Republicans isn't just that they disagree with liberals on race--it's they are largely ignorant on race. When the McCain campaign cast the spell of diabolical jingoism, they have no idea of the forces they are toying with. We remember Martin Luther King's murder as a sad and tragic event. Less remembered is the fact that ground-work for King's murder was seeded, not simply by rank white supremacy, but by people who slandered King as a communist.

This was not some notion bandied about by conspiracy theorist, but an accusation proffered by men who were the
pillars of the modern Republican Party...

These men didn't kill Martin Luther King, but they contributed to an atmosphere of nationalism, white supremacy and cheap unreflective patriotism that ultimately got a lot of people killed. Confronted with Aparthied South Africa, men like Helms and Falwell used the same "communist" defense. While Mandella wasted away in prison, they dismissed the whole thing as a communist plot.

Let me be clear--This is the ghost that McCain Campaign is summoning. This is the Ring Of Power that they want to wield.  The Muslim charge, the "Hussein" thing is nothing more than today's red-baiting, and it is what it was then--a cover for racists. You may say I'm overreacting, and I really hope you're right. 999,000 out 1 million times we'll go on like normal and proceed to Election Day. But if some shit pops off, the thug and thug-mongers will not be able to throw up their hands and say "How could I have known?" Ignorance will not save them. Their stupidity is a scourge on us all.

I don't know if the McCain campaign is simply ignorant or indifferent but either way they are pushing this campaign into a direction that they may not be able to control. The consequences of their actions may well be grave. 

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