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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

The Genie

Friday, October 10, 2008

"I don't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's an Arab."

That's the kind of opinion being voiced at John McCain's town hall meetings these days. That such a view can find voice at this late stage in a national presidential campaign is the result of months of disinformation spread by groups at the conservative fringe and "reported" by Fox News and company.

But now that the McCain campaign has unleashed the hounds, as it were, and spent the last seven days spinning out ad after ad trafficking in suspicion of Obama's past and introducing the phrase "palling around with terrorists" into our discourse, we're getting a good look at what, exactly, this tack is dredging up amongst the electorate: rage.

It's obvious that McCain is taken aback by it (observe the look on his face here when the shout "kill him!" issues from one of his supporters). He's not this kind of guy. But it seems to me he's made a deal with the devil and taken some very desperate advice from the wrong people. Or, to use a different metaphor, he's let the genie out of the bottle, and now that genie is going to do with genies do, namely wreak havoc and make McCain wish he could stop it.

When this election is over, I don't think McCain wants to be remembered as the guy who's run for the White House set American race relations back 50 years. But that's what people are describing at McCain/Palin events, an environment of anger and suspicion that feels, at times, like it might burst the dam of civility.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:17 PM

2 Comments:

Don't know what you're hearing in SoCal, but there are times that I think that dam is already long gone.
commented by Blogger Scott, 7:09 AM  
Maybe civility isn't what's at risk, since, you're right, Presidential campaigns do a number on that by their very nature. My fear is that it's something more basic than that, perhaps fear. People who stand in a crowd and call for someone's death have no fear that their peers will correct them. Maybe it's just that this campaign is giving a forum to those kinds of people, and if it wasn't this campaign it would be something else. I don't know, but it makes me very uneasy.
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 8:40 AM  

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