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Column: Anger First, Country Second

This story was written by Justin Stofferahn, Daily Egyptian

The past week on Wall Street was brutal, and the financial panic could soon begin to affect Main Street as credit becomes increasingly scarce and retirement savings are depleted.

The worsening economy has become anathema for Republican nominee Sen. John McCain as his campaign has tried several times to reshape the debate over the crisis in the face of building support for Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama, who has continually shown an edge among voters on ability to handle the financial disaster.

Before Wall Street began to crumble, the addition of Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska to the McCain ticket several weeks ago excited the electorate and brought McCain even with Obama in the polls.

Now, with McCain's comment about being "fundamentally a deregulator" and preaching about the strong "fundamentals of our economy" amid record drops in various economic indicators, the GOP candidate's support has taken a nose-dive in the polls.

Recent polling has Obama pulling away from McCain in many battleground states and has made an electoral landslide a possibility. With 21 days left before the election, frustration has set in among McCain supporters, and for some it has escalated into anger.

Recent election coverage has been dominated by clips of attendees at McCain town halls, jeering the Arizona senator and calling for him to "take the gloves off." Much of this anger seemed to come after Palin's remark at a rally in Colorado that Obama "pals around" with Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers.

Since then, McCain has done his best to temper the rage of his supporters, including one woman who claimed Obama was an Arab and that the Illinois senator "frightened" her.

There have even been times when the intensity of the crowds pushing McCain to start a political street fight have seemed to catch him off guard.

Politics should be emotional. The issues at hand are important, and the chosen solutions will have a profound impact on all citizens. That being said, the electoral process should not turn into unbridled rage. Unfortunately, even events such as this weekend's homecoming parade have provided examples of the McCain anger.

While waiting to march in support of several Democratic candidates, a student approached several of my fellow Democratic supporters and me. What began as a calm inquiry into the presence of a McCain float at the parade turned into a profanity-laced verbal assault of Obama supporters.

Fortunately the situation was defused before it could escalate any further, but it was yet another example of McCain's supporters being unable to contain their frustrations.

If we are to play the association game, something should be made of supporters taking on the sometimes ill-tempered characteristics of their candidate. If you can judge a person by the company they keep, can you also judge someone by their most fervent followers?