Article: For morality’s sake

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By Matthew Ralph

If you surf the Web regularly, you’ve probably seen some of the videos floating around of backward McCain-Palin supporters at campaign rallies spouting off about Obama being a terrorist because of his “bloodlines” and various other nonsense. One of them hasn’t earned the nickname Heavy Metal Palin Lot for nothing. Another reminds me of some of the most disgusting scenes in Harmony Korine’s 1997 film “Gummo.”

None of these videos, in my opinion, are worthy of a link because 1. They appear to have been produced with a partisan agenda in mind and 2. They offer absolutely nothing of substance or value to the current political conversation. Editorially speaking, they seem to draw the lame guilt by association line back to the GOP candidates that partisans on both sides of the political spectrum have already beaten to a pulp (Obama=Ayers and Rezko; Palin=radical secessionist right wingers in Alaska; Fox News personality Sean Hannity=anti-semitic guest on one of his shows, etc.).

What is sad about these videos and additional reports of McCain supporters yelling “kill him” and things like “sit down, boy” to an African-American news cameraman is that so far the GOP candidates haven’t to my knowledge taken public steps to try and stamp out this kind of vile behavior. Whether or not you believe McCain and Palin’s ramping up of mud-slinging has crossed the line or is partly to blame for the ignorance of the most dimwitted of their supporters, there comes a time when candidates for political office need to denounce, as Obama did his former pastor, this type of activity.

Now, I don’t think McCain or Palin should be blamed for this behavior any more than Obama should be blamed for the ridiculousness that is YouTube sensation Obama Girl, the lengthy list of annoying Hollwood celebrities who support him or the way some of his rabid supporters worship the water on which they seem to think he can walk on. But I do think McCain and Palin have a responsibility as the God-loving patriotic American citizens they purport to be to speak out against this kind of crassness.

The truth is, Obama is not a Muslim and even if he was that would not automatically make him a terrorist unfit to serve in the capacity of president. He deserves to be called out for downplaying his relationship with William Ayers but so does everyone else who has associated with the man, including Reagan backer Walter Annenberg, who funded the school reform board that brought Ayers and Obama together. Using the same logic repeatedly applied to Obama’s connections to Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, I am guilty by association for sitting through a racist sermon on July 4, 2003, and not walking out when the white preacher more or less said that the country was much better off in the old days before blacks were given civil rights.

Of course, I’m just a “liberal media” apologist so my words should be taken much more with a grain of salt than anything that comes from the mouth of a candidate for political office. Forget that I have voted both Republican and Democrat in presidential elections, often splitting my votes between the parties within the same local partisan races and that I’ve been critical of both campaigns for the way they have played fast and loose with facts. Because I don’t swallow talking points whole or take what partisan hacks like Sean Hannity say as truth anymore than I do obnoxious Keith Olbermann, I am clearly biased.

If you are looking for a more balanced view, i.e. commentary from a Republican, I draw your attention to former McCain strategist John Weaver, who talked to Politico’s Jonathan Martin for an article entitled “Panic attacks: Voters unload at GOP rallies.”

“People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Sen. Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Sen. McCain,” Weaver was quoted as saying. “And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.”

“Sen. Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold.”

Shame on the sinking ship that once was the Grand Old Party, indeed.

UPDATE: This is more like it. Now, if McCain could get the pitbull in lipstick to play along maybe their campaign will have a chance to still earn back some of the credibility that has been lost.

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