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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Playing the Race Card

Frank Rich published a very well articulated piece (free registration required) in the New York Times, today, attacking the racial politics that have become ever more prominent in the Republican camp, of late. The piece is well worth the moment it will take to register on the site.

...what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s no surprise that someone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete. It is stoked further by the repeated invocation of Obama’s middle name by surrogates introducing McCain and Palin at these rallies. This sleight of hand at once synchronizes with the poisonous Obama-is-a-Muslim e-mail blasts and shifts the brand of terrorism from Ayers’s Vietnam-era variety to the radical Islamic threats of today.

That’s a far cry from simply accusing Obama of being a guilty-by-association radical leftist. Obama is being branded as a potential killer and an accessory to past attempts at murder. “Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family” was how a McCain press release last week packaged the remembrance of a Weather Underground incident from 1970 — when Obama was 8.

We all know what punishment fits the crime of murder, or even potential murder, if the security of post-9/11 America is at stake. We all know how self-appointed “patriotic” martyrs always justify taking the law into their own hands.

What was even more satisfying than seeing this called out so plainly, was reading this comment -- pointed out to me by Flame-Haired Angel -- buried deep in the many reader responses:

As a Republican I hope that every time John McCain pulls out a five-dollar bill or passes the Lincoln Memorial he mouths a silent "Sorry". Many of us who had looked to John McCain to restore some semblance of a sensible conservatism to the Republican Party have been dismayed and disappointed as instead he surrendered to and embraced the extremism which has captured it. We have watched while to be Republican has meant to trample the Constitution, to be fiscally irresponsible, to pursue a savage and unfocused foreign policy abroad, and to encourage a rapacious and counterproductive package of economic policies domestically. But when John McCain had one last chance to restore some honor to the party in this campaign he instead chose to turn the VP nomination over to someone who seems to take pride in being unethical and ignorant, and now unleashes the ugly forces of racism and social conflict. In practice this is a Republican Party debacle, not just John McCain's, but it is the small shrill voice of his ambition and arrogance which pushes the country ever closer to a dangerous abyss.

— Jack, Portland, Ore.


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