witch burns, film at 11
At this point, John McCain, Sarah Palin and the cretinous Republican anal pustules that enable their endless vitriol need to fucking stop. Right now. Ever since Palin's effluvious post-convention "bounce" evaporated, their behavior has been cowardly, unhinged, and deeply un-American. Someone has to sit them down and tell them to FUCK OFF for the good of the country.
I'm all for a good political catfight if the exchange of ideas – however heated it might be – ends up helping the country make an informed decision. But the McPain campaign is indulging in the kind of hate-filled, not-even-bothering-to-be-subtle rhetoric that might turn their wingnut base into an orgy of ecstatic rage, but makes the rest of the country want to take a shower. A high tide raises all ships, but conversely, a campaign like McCain's drags all of us into the festering pit of despair.
Barack Obama has, for most intents and purposes, won this election. Only two things can stop it now: the unthinkable, and mass voter registration purges across the country. In past contests, candidates facing an seemingly-inevitable loss have gone down gracefully – think Bob Dole in 1996, Mondale in 1984. Not McCain and Palin, however. They are the retreating Huns who lose the battle, but want to make sure they leave blankets infected with smallpox strewn across the countryside.
from your friends in West Plains, MO
Their ugliness is everywhere, from Cindy McCain's shrill bullshit to Sarah Palin's constant assertion that Obama is no better than a terrorist. And their rallies have become breeding grounds for the worst kind of knuckle-dragging fuckwads this side of a Klan rally. There are lots of videos out there, but this one really encapsulates their ugly, bigoted, snarl delivered behind fucked-up teeth. These are the motherfuckers who cut you off on the freeway, and then give you the finger as they speed home to beat their kids.
Am I a classist? I suppose so, I don't really care. This brand of American is wholly reprehensible - they're not just embarrassing for conservatives, they're embarrassing for all of us. Being poor, misinformed or desperate does NOT excuse ANY OF US from the tenets of basic human decency. Just as rich people are not allowed to buy their way out of morality, poor people don't get an exemption for their hate.
But all of this ugliness belies a vastly more sinister undercurrent; McCain and Palin are working their devoted followers into an unrepentantly dangerous lather. By freely using the word "terrorist" (by themselves and from audience members), tolerating shouts of "kill him!" at their rallies, and delivering utterly racist soundbites about Obama "diminishing the prestige of the United States presidency", they are inspiring the worst people in America to the kind of fury that begets lone gunmen and ragtag basement militias.
If you think I'm overreacting, try asking some of the older blog readers here, the ones that remember things I don't, about the summer of 1968, or November 1963. We've got a black man about to be President, and his rivals, knowing full well they are about to lose, are purposely riling up their thugs for revenge, whether it's this month or at some point in the next few years. Even if you think the threat is remote, the behavior of the Republican ticket is close to irresponsibly criminal.
I was talking to someone who had a great idea: if Barack Obama is elected, Sarah Palin should be forced to be on his secret service detail for all public events. That way she can truly know what it is to be the wolf and not the chopper pilot, and doggone it, it might not be so fucking funny anymore.
Posted by Ian Williams at October 9, 2008 11:27 PM
I totally agree, Ian.
What I admired about John McCain before this election campaign was that he was willing to rise above partisanship to accomplish things he believed in, that he respected his opponents enough to rise above personal attacks and that he appeared to have a very low tolerance for bullshit. While I often disagreed with him on issues, I admired the way he worked.
When I got to know Barack Obama, I recognized this straightforward honesty in him, too. Because I agree with him almost entirely on issues, my choice for President was easy.
This campaign started as a refreshing change from TUB (the usual bullshit), with both candidates actually playing fair. But the further McCain has fallen behind, the more he has discarded what I admired about him. Lee Atwater may be long gone, but his legacy lives on in McCain's campaign. Maybe it's not so much McCain himself, but his advisors. Maybe he really is out of touch.
Either way, it's disappointing.
I agree 100% that fairness goes both ways. Obama has continued to conduct himself honorably in the face of unrelenting lowball bullshit. He has fought back, he's called bullshit where bullshit needed to be called, but he has measured his responses and hasn't escalated the negativity. I admire the way he's conducted the campaign.
By the way, I'm not sure who posted the first comment, whether it was (as I suspect) a McCain supporter hoping to discredit Obama or whether it was actually a misguided Obama supporter. Either way, Ian, I suggest that you remove it.
Here's my problem: I passionately believe in freedom of speech. But Palin, in rousin' the rabble (you betcha), is tantamount to yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater. She is inciting the crazies to accomplish the "unthinkable," and I for one will be amazed if it doesn't happen. With her encouragement.
I remember the string of tragedies in the 60s, and at the time, one of my neighbors. after the King assassination, said "there is so much ugliness in the world..." And of course, there still is. I do have faith in the vast, vast majority of Americans, and in the beauty and hope of the great American "Experiment" that is our imperfect but amazing democracy. When MLK was killed, Ian, still a baby, rode on my hip at a silent King Tribute march in San Jose, Calif. The crowd I walked with was probably over half white, with many Latino, Asian, and of course African-Americans, and it felt like a proud statement of what America could (and has come to) look like. The march was peaceful and sad, but with a hard core of determination to make a statement about what most Americans were feeling.
I don't want to march like that again. One crazy person can change history and make an ugly difference, Sarah Palin... Shame on you and the moose you rode in on. Time to talk about what can be done to bring our country back from the brink, what we can sacrifice and work toward... not this ugly crap coming out of your mouth. Time to stop it, and stop encouraging some angry, frustrated, demented person to do something "unthinkable."
Wow. So much for the kinder, gentler blog that Dean tried to usher in earlier this week. I had to double check that I was on Ian's blog and not on Daily Kos.
I will now resort to the line that has been thrown out many times on this blog during this political season: Do you really believe what you are writing? Though I vigorously disagree, I can concede to you your world view of hard-core right wingers as knuckle-dragging, wife-beating, mouth-breathing neanderthal closet racists. That's your right to see the world through your own eyes.
But do you honestly in your heart of hearts believe the GOP in any shape, form, or fashion is trying to stir up the level of animosity and rage that would somehow bring harm to Obama?
Look, it's 4th and long and McPalin is trying to throw a hail mary, throwing all kinds of things against the wall to see what sticks. But to insinuate that they are trying to ramp it up to the level of assasination is ridiculous.
I also think it is intellectually dishonest to somehow imply or assume that the left does not have its own supply of spoonheads like those in the videos cited above. There are plenty of people out there in the "there's a vast right-wing conspiracy" crowd who cite stuff just as crazy as Obama being linked to terrorism. Remember, apparently Bush knew about 9/11 and sabotaged the levees in New Orleans. And Sandra Bernhard suggesting Sarah Palin would be gang-raped by black men (by any men!) isn't misogynisitic, hate-filled speech, regardless of the supposed context?
And before you go launching the preemptive strike on voter fraud, it now appears the entire Dallas Cowboys offense has registered to vote as Democrats in Nevada. Besides, wasn't the Chicago Democratic machine the originator of how to steal elections, a playbook run well by JFK? So please, get off your high horse and stop asserting that your side is not full of just as much shit as the other side.
In no way am I defending McPalin. Their campaign reeks of desperation. But, unlike your assertions, this is not 1968. This is a time in America when a black man can be a major party nominee and be the odds-on favorite to win it. Would someone want to hurt Obama simply because of his melanin content? Sure. But its not the Repubs who are going to make that happen. Hell, John Hinckley tried to kill Reagan just to impress a teenaged actress.
On another thought that just makes me ill, Obama and McCain have raised a combined $700 million! Just think what good could have been done if we had let each guy spend $100 million, leaving half a BILLION dollars to spend on education, homelessness, cancer research, etc, etc.
Zel, to my knowledge, those leftist spoonheads who love to plaster the internet with conspiracy theories are not at Obama rallies shouting "Terrorist!" and "Kill him!" about McCain.
There is no way you can assert that if some assassination attempt is !!!god forbid!!! made, that it won't be made by a Republican or right-winger. I don't see how you can make such a baseless assertion. No one can know what might happen.
What we *can* do is hope that the positively shameless baiting that anyone can see IS happening at these McCain rallies will not foment violent acts. We can also speak out against these shameless and irresponsible tactics. That is Ian's point. The whipping up of mobs into angry frenzies is dangerous. If McCain tried to contain or condemn these outbursts of hate, I would have some renewed respect for him. But no attempt at containment or condemnation has been made. Which rather leads one to think that McCain might not give a shit whether people scream out about killing Obama at his rallies. Which is fucking scary.
I would hope that Obama, were one of his supporters to scream out "Kill him!" about McCain, would speak out against it. Knowing what I know about Obama, I believe that he would.
What I can say without doubt is that Obama has not resorted to implying that McCain is a terrorist--he has barely even referred to the Keating 5 scandal. Because he has an actual campaign that is reaching people, he doesn't need to fall back on baiting people's worst instincts.
Honestly, in my heart of hearts, I believe that McPalin at best, *at best* don't care whether or not people at their rallies voice homicidal intentions towards Obama. And I find that appalling.
(I had not heard the Sandra Bernhard quote, but it sounds reprehensible to me)
Someone sent this to me today. It fits perfectly with Ian's topic and my opinion:
By Frank Schaeffer
(This post first ran in the Baltimore Sun as an op-ed on Oct 10, 2008)
Senator John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.
At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced
by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.
John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.
You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.
John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.
John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.
John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.
Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever.
We will hold you responsible.
I'll try this one more time, but it's hard to deal with people when they're in such a hyperbolic frenzy.
Idiots are everywhere. The disingenuity is to somehow assert that one side has a monopoly on them. Can you interview 100 people going into a GOP rally, select five who are spoonheads and place it on YouTube as representative of everyone going into the place? You betcha. (Wink)
I looked at the links you posted. From the "kill him" entry, it was hard to tell if that was directed at Ayers or Obama. And the "fury that begets" link was a nice editing job. The guy in the crowd calls Obama AND Pelosi "hooligans" in a 3-minute diatribe, and McCain says "he's right" and the scene jumps in mid-sentence to Palin. And all Palin did was tell the crowd to ask the questions the "mainstream media" wouldn't.
Please tell me you're not from the Douglass Daniel camp, implying that all criticism of Obama MUST be racially motivated, and that by using the word "terrorist" a connection is made between dark-skinned terrorists and the dark-skinned presidential candidate. The connection most spoonheads make, as illustrated by the picture in your post, is by his name, not by his skin color.
You of all people should know what true racial politics looks like. You were in NC for the Helms/Gantt Senate race. Stirring up anti-black sentiment is not, as you state, whipping the masses into a fury. It's getting white folks to think that African-Americans are going to take their jobs, or impact their livelihood or safety. That's the Helms affirmative action ads, or the Willie Horton campaign. Say what you want, but McPalin hasn't pulled that out - at least not yet. They are desperate, you know.
And please tell me you did not dismiss Sandra Bernhard's comment simply because "no one heard it". I offer it simply as proof that the left is as full of vitriol as the right. And she was not some nameless, faceless voice shouting at a rally. She is someone with a microphone and a name that at least someone heard of, at one time, maybe...
Then again, maybe instead of shouting the "kill him" at a rally, that guy should have written a book about fantasizing about an Obama assassination. Or better yet, made a movie about it for British TV. Wait, those aren't original ideas, are they.
Speaking of British TV, thanks for the recommendation of "Life on Mars". I watched the American version of it this week.