Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The threat of violence and the McCain campaign

August 13, 2008. A gunman shot dead Bill Gwatney, the Democratic Party chairman, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Later in August, Federal authorities arrested three people in Colorado with a weapons cache. At least one of these clowns said the weapons were part of a plot to assassinate Barack Obama. The feds, incredibly, said this "plot" was never a credible threat to the Senator.

Ryan Powers, at Think Progress, tells how, last Friday, "two staffers for Judy Feder, the Democratic nominee for Virginia's 10th congressional district, were assaulted by two individuals accompanying Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). Feder's staffers were trying to ask Wolf about his support for Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) proposed $5,000 health care tax credit. Wolf stood idly by as the assault took place. Lowell Feld at Raising Kaine described the encounter:

"The first Feder staffer was hit with a cane and then punched. The second staffer ... was pinned to a wall and forcibly held there. All of this took place in the presence of Congressman Wolf, who stood by and did nothing to intervene."

Yesterday, October 26, ATF agents halted another neo-Nazi skinhead project which included shooting and/or decapitating 102 black people in Tennessee, a national killing spree, and the assassination of Senator Obama.

Perhaps we should not be surprised. At McCain/Palin rallies around the country, some of their supporters, when Obama's name was mentioned, yelled "Kill him!," "terrorist," "Obama bin Laden," and other slurs, one Minnesota woman telling McCain that Obama was "an Arab."

McCain and Palin have continually and falsely accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists." Palin, in particular, has expanded on that, claiming that Obama does not believe in America, that he doesn't care about "real" Americans, that he wants to talk to our enemies instead of bombing them into oblivion. Palin has over and over again called into question Obama's patriotism.

In his book, Constantine's Sword, James Carroll notes how, "In 1998, a young gay man, Matthew Shepard, was murdered in Wyoming. His killers had tortured him and, in effect, crucified him by hanging him on a fence. They smashed his skull. This incident occurred amid heated anti-gay campaigns, some conducted by Christian groups.

The question poses itself: What is the relationship between violent attacks on homosexuals and open contempt for homosexuals expressed by respectable people and organizations?"
[My emphasis]

Let's revise the question: What is the relationship between violent attacks (or plots to exercise violence) on a political candidate and open contempt for that candidate expressed by respectable people and organizations?

Carroll quotes Frank Rich, a columnist for The New York Times: "It's a story as old as history. Once any group [liberals? Democrats? Blacks? Jews? Arabs? Muslims?] is successfully scapegoated as a subhuman threat to 'normal' values by a propaganda machine, emboldened thugs take over."

Unfortunately, I don't think the McCain people give a damn, but they ought, at least, to consider the potential liaison between their rhetoric and the unnerving of a nation as well as the unleashing of those with a propensity for violence as a means of resolving conflict.

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