It probably wont surprise most of you to know that John McCain was met with a round of boos at a rally in Minnesota last Friday.
It might surprise you to know that the booing came not from an audience of Democrats, but from an audience of Republicans, alleged McCain supporters. Youre probably wondering what could possibly cause an audience of loyal right-wingers to heckle their favorite war hero, their beloved senator, their presidential candidate of choice.
He defended opposing candidate Barack Obama, of course.
He responded to comments by his supporters that Obama is a terrorist, an Arab and a traitor by saying, hes a decent family man and citizen and that there is nothing to fear from Obama.
This apparently caused them to boo.
McCain is simply reaping what hes sown with his campaigns incessant hate mongering in recent weeks. He openly called Obama a liar and a dishonorable and possibly even dangerous person.
Then, McCain decided to publicly defend Obama when a rally of his oh-so-sophisticated Joe Six-packs and rabid pitbull hockey moms slandered him in the very same manner as their partys candidate. Must be the senile thought process of a decrepit old man, probably the same senile thought process that led him to believe Sarah Palin was intelligent and well spoken.
Or we could just chalk it up to a strategic sound byte, look-good-for-the-camera variety hypocrisy.
The other issue that I find appalling here is the use of the term Arab in this context.
Since when has simply calling someone an Arab become a derogatory term, one that requires defense by saying hes a decent family man and a citizen? It would lead one to believe that in McCains eyes (and all those who subscribe to this rhetoric), Arabs are not decent family men or citizens.
The reality is there are Arab citizens in America hard-working, decent people trying to raise families. Theres no excuse for the undue vilification of a presidential candidate and no excuse to paint an entire ethnic group as inherently bad.
The damage that such vile invective can cause is already visible. The Clarion Fund, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit group a category that is not supposed to engage in political activity nonetheless endorsed McCain on one of its Web sites and delivered 28 million copies of a DVD documentary about Islam called Obsession in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. The film has been called shameless propaganda and fear-mongering.
The same day the film was distributed in Dayton, Ohio, someone sprayed chemical gas into the open window of the local mosque, the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton. The room was the nursery, full of children and babies, many of the families Iraqi refugees.
I hope people begin to realize all that can go wrong when political campaigns engage in baseless, hate-filled mud-slinging and fear-mongering to appeal to the lowest rungs of society for a percentage point or two at the polls.