Monday, October 6, 2008

Media vs. Sarah Palin - The Gloves are OFF

Dana Milbanks has written an interesting column, published in the wee hours of Tuesday, called "Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame." He lays into Sarah Palin, with an unfortunate humorous approach. It's as if he wants to sound a warning about Palin's behavior, but can't really believe that someone as buffoon-like as she is could really present any danger. He describes the campaign events that other bloggers and columnists have been in an uproar about - calling Obama a terrorist, crowds jeering at Obama's name and shouting "kill him!" while at the same time mixing in her remarks about "putting the heels on and the gloves off, hanging on to our hats." In my opinion, the danger that Palin and McCain are inciting people to violence is very real.

Milbank writes that Palin is continuing and increasing her diatribe against the media. At her rallies, she is even inciting the crowds against the media. Milbank writes:

"Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy." "

It would be nice to have faith in our fellow Americans that this kind of racist, bigoted, McCarthy-like behavior will not be successful. At a meeting at church tonight, we were asked to pray that these types of attacks will not be successful in dividing our country. Now is a good time to re-read Pastor Martin Niemoller's famous poem:

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
UPDATE: "The Terrorists Among Us" is an essay by Buzzflash editor Mark Karlin. In it, he highlights the abuses of the Bush administration in abrogating Americans' civil rights, and states that McCain and Palin are continuing this campaign of terrorism against the American people. Karlin writes:
"There are many ways to terrorize a nation, and the Republican Party has perfected some of the most effective. Their biggest sin is to divide us into two camps: the self-appointed "patriots" and the "other." Then they pour gasoline on the fire and let it blaze away, as they pick our pockets and dangerously let hatred and a desire for violence fester, caring little if it leads to assassination.

It is not an accident that the politically extremist NRA -- whose leaders focus on radical ideology more than hunting with guns (and no Democratic politician that we know of is trying to ban hunting) – is tied at the hip with the GOP. Guns, violence, racism, and fear of "the other" are the fundamental base of the Republican voting block.

What Palin and McCain are engaging in now is taking place on the theatrical stage upon which all demagogues perform. Most often such reprehensible and socially irresponsible behavior leads to an ugly end. That is what we’ve seen for eight years, and what we saw for decades as the right wing ascended to power by lighting the fuse that killed off idealistic leaders who championed the Constitution, the rule of law, and the right of one person/one vote (regardless of economic status, race or religion) – and by stealing our votes, either literally or with appeals to our fears, not our dreams.

It is happening again as neither McCain nor Palin bother to even chastise their lynch mob supporters for calling Obama a terrorist or calling for his assassination. Why should they? They are basically doing the former, and it follows logically that their rabid followers would do the latter. After all, don't we torture and kill terrorists?

Palin has turned from a "Hockey Mom" into a Mussolini with lipstick; and McCain from a Madison Avenue packaged "maverick" into a morally rudderless Franco.

God help us that these agents of intolerance, hate and violence do not take another leader who rallies the best in America from us.
UPDATE 2: See Kathleen Parker's column in the Washington Post "Call Off the Pit Bull." Parker, you'll remember, is the conservative columnist who has been receiving hate mail ever since her column questioning Sarah Palin's competence to serve as Vice President. Parker writes, "But words can have more serious consequences than lost votes and we've already had a glimpse of the Palin effect . . . McCain may want to call off his pit bull before this war escalates."

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