We've been watching Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain campaign for months now. They've assailed one another about differences on the issues that are important in this election and launched aggressive efforts to spread their message to voters.
But McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have capitalized on messages of hate and ignorance in recent weeks to gain the support of the ultra-right. The GOP campaign seems to have let up on swaying undecided voters and is now working to guarantee the votes of its die-hards - faithful conservatives who believe Obama is a Muslim, and therefore, a "terrorist" and "traitor."
All of this is false. McCain even said so on one occasion. But still we see these untrue, ignorant assertions crop up at rally after rally.
It's time for the Republican Party to end this harassment and address its followers' blatant racism.
Gov. Ted Strickland, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman shared this charge at a press conference Monday at the Ohio Statehouse.
"Let's get back to straight talk," Coleman said. "Talk about getting our nation back on track. The voters of our state deserve a lot better. Time to clean up your act."
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke along the same lines with Tom Brokaw on "Meet the Press" Sunday. Powell endorsed Obama, and he decried McCain and Palin for their inappropriate behavior on the campaign trail.
"I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow," Powell said. "It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift."
If this presidential election has revealed anything about the people of this country, it's our true colors. The way we attack each other in the age when seemingly anything can be passed off as "true" is to assail immutable truths. We have come so far in pervading the ignorance based upon race, gender and sexual orientation, but we still have light-years to go before we can even dream of equality among all people.
And we shouldn't have a man and a woman who want to be at the helm of our country resorting to smears nostalgic of conflict that tore this country apart less than 50 years ago. Support for the McCain-Palin ticket is, at this point in their campaign, support for the politics of race and hate we've been fighting, since our nation's inception, to move beyond.
By refusing to set the record straight and allowing these comments to be a visible part of their rallies, the GOP candidates are allowing echoes of one of the most politically tumultuous eras of American history to become part of this election. McCain and Palin aren't showing support for the new Washington they promise to establish. They're only driving the social situation in the United States back into its past.