But this guy running McCain's campaign, and in fact, McCain himself, should feel shame so deep it should make them weep. Here we are, in 2008, so far from our Civil Right's horrors of the past--so much so that we have an African American candidate who is credible and likable. And McCain and Schmidt and Palin are willing to flush that for a slight bump in the polls. They appear to be willing to risk a race war in this country for a chance at victory in November. I am sure you have all seen the videos circulating. Palin saying that Obama "pals around with terrorists" and McCain stressing that we don't know the real Obama (that is even funnier when Palin says it and we all think, "hey, we know him better than we know YOU"). Angry mobs at their rallies shouting "terrorist" and "traitor" when Obama's name comes up. Loud cheers when shills mention Obama's middle name. People yelling "kill him" referencing Bill Ayers or Obama--who knows? McCain blinks but does nothing. Palin--the supposed annointed one, chosen by God to be in this race--eggs on the crowd. Neither of them stop and point out that they disagree with Obama's ideas, respect him as a good American. Because that is what Michelle Obama said about McCain just the other night.
Nope. The War Hero and the Bible Queen egg on racism that makes me cringe. This is more than just bad, it is playing with serious shit. As Ta-Nehisi Coates
points out, we have seen this before when religious leaders like Falwell and others savaged MLK as a communist and danger to America--then expressed suprise when someone shot him.
"Falwell was not alone. 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."
Joe Klein agrees:
"Watch the tape of the guy screaming, 'He's a terrorist!' McCain seems to shudder at that, he rolls his eyes... and I thought for a moment he'd admonish the man. But he didn't. And now he's selling the Ayres non-story full-time. Yes, yes, it's all he has. True enough: he no longer has his honor. But we are on the edge of some real serious craziness here and it would be nice if McCain did the right thing and told his more bloodthirsty supporters to go home and take a cold shower. But McCain hasn't done the right thing all year. His campaign is appalling, as the New York Times editorial board said today--and more, it is a national disgrace."
And once again, as hell freezes over, Kathleen Parker calls this for what it is:
"The truth is, Obama should have avoided Ayers, and his denouncement of Wright was tardy. But this is a dangerous game. The McCain campaign knows that Obama isn't a Muslim or a terrorist, but they're willing to help a certain kind of voter think he is. Just the way certain South Carolinians in 2000 were allowed to think that McCain's adopted daughter from Bangladesh was his illegitimate black child. But words can have more serious consequences than lost votes and we've already had a glimpse of the Palin effect."
Even Christopher Buckley has lost faith in McCain:
"John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?"Buckley is endorsing Obama for President. Wow.
And Buckley isn't the only one.
I will continue to have hope. But Palin and McCain owe us a great apology that words alone will not accomplish. Tearing at the very fabric of our national identity for political power is unforgivable.