Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fear And Loathing In The Extreme

I was behind a pickup truck as I turned from Huguenot Road onto Buford Road last week. The truck stopped at a traffic light and I pulled up behind it. On the back window was a large sign that read “Be Afraid” at the top. Then there was a drawing of Barack Obama in an angry pose. Below that were even bigger letters reading “Be Very Afraid.” I was impressed by the deep level of hate expressed by whoever designed and marketed that sign.

Last night the maveness called my attention to an anti-Obama ad she saw on the tube. Tonight I saw the same ad. The ad was sponsored by the ultra-conservative group, Let Freedom Ring. It was entitled “Never Find Out” and it basically painted the disaster to the world that would ensue if Barack Obama is elected president. It’s filled with some pretty outrageous and unsubstantiated claims. Or course, it is not the purpose of Let Freedom Ring to tell the truth. Rather, its purpose is obviously to scare people out of voting for Senator Obama. This, remember is the same Let Freedom Ring that thinks that George W is the greatest president ever, wants to undo Roe v. Wade, favors going back to the original intent of the Constitution, wants to limit the power of the judiciary, encourages the family as the basic building block of society (so long as the family centers on a heterosexual couple), and wants to restore prayer to our schools. Considering its agenda it is not surprising that Let Freedom Ring is afraid of Barack Obama.

Now, the maven has seen lots of election campaigns. (No, I am not old enough to remember the dirtiest of all elections—the 1800 contest between the Federalists and the Jeffersonians). And maybe my memory plays tricks with me. However, I get the feeling it is getting unusually nasty out there. I mean I remember the “mushroom cloud” ad that the Dems ran in 1964 to scare people out of voting for Barry Goldwater. It was pretty devastating. But, this year there seems to be a concerted effort by those on the right, including the Republican National Committee (whose ads are clearly the best in terms of effectiveness) and the McCain-Palin campaign, to personally attack Senator Obama and portray him as outside the spectrum of political acceptability. The supporters of McCain-Palin don’t have any real issues to talk about, so they are trying real hard to scare everybody. Their message—“electing Obama is unthinkable.”

Is there any way that we the voters can affect the level at which our political campaigns are run? How do we get candidates for public office to concentrate on the issues rather than character attacks? Well, campaigns run these fear and loathing ads because they think they work. The only way we can raise the level of the public debates in this country is to demonstrate to the candidates that we will not be fooled by their slime campaigns. We need to send a message to the Republican National Committee and to the McCain-Palin campaign, and of course to Let Freedom Ring on Election Day by voting for Barack Obama for president. And, if you happen to be one of those people who is exit-polled, tell them that you refuse to vote for a hate-monger or a candidate supported by hate-mongers.

Citizens of Virginia! On November 4 the choice is yours. Will you vote based on fear and loathing? Or will you look at the issues and vote for the man most qualified to be president? I urge you to vote for Obama because he is the real instrument of change. Voting for McCain is asking for four more years of Republic misrule.

1 comment:

Burr Deming said...

Good observations. A lot of over the top stuff out there.

Both sides have been attacking.

Perhaps it's time to assess the real reason Obama's attacks stick while McCain's ricochet.