Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hi everyone.  I just wanted to get out on the front page a conversation started by my latest blog post.  I think it's a good one to have.  My friend Laurie posted a wonderful, balancing response to my post yesterday and I again responded to her.  Be safe, everyone, and watch the debate tonight!  May we live in love and not fear.

Marc, I respect your well-thought out, researched post, just as I respect your political position. I agree that fear and hate are terrible, divisive forces, but I don't agree that either candidate is trying to drive wedges of fear and hate into America. I consider the questions regarding Senator Obama's past associations valid, just as I consider questions regarding McCain's pas associations valid. We are so influenced by those around us; we should be able to ask about those influences.

What I can't fathom is how the supporters of both candidates can let their fervor turn so ugly. The recent McCain rally was well-covered, and we're both familiar with that, but I found this article that identifies some ugly, sad and scary behaviors of Senator Obama's supporters:

Townhall Article, Obama Supporter's Rage

No politician, no president, can change this. Other than just being good and decent people ourselves, how do we and our friends change this?

My Response:


Thank you for adding some levity and balance to the post. Those actions by Obama's supporters were NOT well covered and I hadn't found anything about them. So again, thank you.

I think I see a different fault in this situation in both men. I would like to make a slight nuance of a difference between what you perceived me saying about John McCain and what i would really like to say, and then to make a comment about the difference between this and the fault that I see Obama having. I think that I didn't clearly state what I see McCain doing wrong. I honestly don't think that he's trying to put a wedge in, or trying to divide people and spread hate. I think he's a much better man than that. I do think, however, that in trying to win this political election, he has done some things, I believe, without as much foresight as they needed, that have stoked the fires of hate that were already there. People already questioned Obama's patriotism, people already wondered whether Obama was Muslim, people wondered about whether or not Obama was born in the United States, people wondered whether or not they should fear him. By using this specific line of attack, which might have an arguably viable point about Obama's judgment, McCain, I hope unwittingly, added fire to these flames. If you watch the add on McCain's website about Ayers and Obama, it calls Obama dangerous, and constantly has pictures of him next to someone that they call a terrorist. That word-picture association sends a strong, subliminal message that, perhaps, Obama could be a terrorist, especially when coupled with Sarah Palin's remarks that Obama was "palling around with terrorists," and McCain's remarks that Obama had started his campaign in the living room of a terrorist. It also makes the subtle assumption that Barack Obama approves of these terrorist actions, and, in fact, this is what McCain's question of "judgment" is asking. This would make Obama seem like a person who would want to bomb the Pentagon, making him seem like a terrorist. Again, I don't think that this was McCain's intent, and I hope that it wasn't, but what I worry about is the foresight that was lacking in approving and condoning the use of those images and specific rhetoric to attack Obama. It also makes me worry about McCain, who, as an honorable man, once said that he would rather lose the election than lose the Iraq war. But now, he's pulling out all the stops to win the election (as anyone extremely desirous to win would). This, however, I think has led to some missteps that are potentially harmful and stoke the fire of hatred.
Obama, on the other hand, obviously hasn't reined in these supporters of his who are doing these horrible things. Now, people are hard to control, and people on all sides of the political spectrum get crazy over their politics. So I do not fully fault either candidate for the action of their constituents. Obama should definitely react and try to calm down his supporters. However, as far as I can tell (and I tried to read as many speeches of both men and watch as many ads as possible), Obama's rhetoric has not added kindling to the misguided actions of his supporters. He has not implied anything about Sarah Palin's stance on abortion. He has not linked Palin or McCain to anyone that should be stoned for any action. While, again, I think Obama should be more proactive about making sure that things like this don't happen and that he should apologize for what his supporters have done, Obama's rhetoric has not supported their actions. McCain's rhetoric was not thought through enough for it not to support hateful actions.
Regardless, both men have said very partisan things. Both men have bashed the other's political party. Both men have told untruths about each other. And I think this is where we come in. Not only can we lead decent lives, but we can also spread the word about the truths of the campaign. I highlighted McCain's arguments against Barack Obama because I saw them as potentially dangerous and they were the thing, obviously, that was being covered in the news and that i had the most access to. But we can tell the truth about both Candidates. We can talk about how both are good men. We can look at the way they deal with issues and with other people as a way of discerning between them. We can spread love as opposed to hate. I regret that possibly my previous post was construed as saying something overly negative about McCain. I didn't not mean it to be that way. I do believe that he is a good, noble man at heart, and that's what is so sad to me, that his campaign has come to the point where his rhetoric could be misconstrued rather easily as supporting hateful things. So. All that to say, thank you for your post, again, and for adding to the conversation.

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