Reports of McCain-Palin rallies turning vicious are really disheartening. Frenzied crowds are yelling ugly threats against Barack Obama, Joe Biden and anyone else who believes the Earth wasn’t created in seven days. When Sarah Palin mentioned William Ayres, someone shouted “kill him!” When Obama’s name is mentioned, someone yells “terrorist!” or “socialist!”
It hasn’t been easy for reporters covering the McCain campaign. All of a sudden journalists are viewed as the enemy by a faction who believes Obama is getting treated with kid gloves by the mainstream media. Name-calling and insults are hurled at reporters covering the rallies. It used to be the politicians insulted the reporters. Now the supporters are joining in.
I’ve thought about the ugliness of this campaign, particularly by the GOP. Say what you want about the goofy Democrats, but when you go to their rallies, nobody threatens to kill anyone. There isn’t this visceral hatred that you see at a McCain-Palin rally. Even in the dark days of the primary when Hillary Clinton was a factor, Obama's supporters remained upbeat.
Which leads me to this thought:
I miss Republicans. Real Republicans. Real Barry Goldwater, country club, cardigan sweater-wearing, tight with money Republicans. I miss the old-fashioned, character-driven, thrifty-but-will-help-his-neighbors-out-in-a-pinch Republicans. I miss the civic-minded, America-is-a-big-tent, work-hard-and-prosper, Yankee Doodle Republicans.
Those Republicans are dead. They died suffocated by the neo-cons, the Christian fundamentalists, and the big business lobbyists. They sold their party out to Pat Robertson, pro-lifers and the military industrial complex. They used Ronald Reagan as an iconic figure, a golden calf they worshipped for the New Right, and in the process of re-branding themselves as America's Party, became something totally un-American. They’re the Heritage Foundation, the Project for the New American Century and every other neo-conservative think tank that spewed out positions and policies that became the bitter poison America has choked down for over 20 years.
The days of Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater are over. The “thinking conservative” is extinct. Now we have George W. Bush, John McCain and Sarah Palin. Instead of cool-headed Ivy League northeastern intellectuals like William F. Buckley Jr. we have rednecks and shit-kickers who articulate like flustered fourth graders.
The rallies prove this point. They’re just a gage of how desperate and vile the McCain-Palin campaign has sunk. They’re like the Nazis at the end of World War II – hidden in their bunkers, eking out the end of days, bitter and enraged that the war didn’t go their way and blaming the Jews and socialists for the ruination of the Reich. They’re rats backed in the corner of the cage, clawing at anyone who threatens them.
Patriotism to them is a commodity, something to be worn on the sleeve and shown as a litmus test for purity. The American flag is a totem symbol taking almost religious significance. And religion itself is something they flaunt as easily as they wave the flag.
Yet the taunts and threats of violence erase any seriousness that these partisans should be given another chance to lead anything.
And that’s really what they are – partisans. The rallying call from the McCain-Palin ticket has been “country first”. That’s bullshit. Everything the GOP’s obnoxious, jeering peanut gallery is about has nothing to do with putting the country first but putting their party first. It’s about supporting an agenda that really is not about freedom but the suppression of it. It's not about uniting - its about dividing us up and selling us fear. It’s not about leading America out of darkness and into the light, but about keeping everyone in the dark of ignorance and obedience.
What the Republicans have done with this election is smother the last visage of what their party really stood for and replace it with robots and sycophants who angrily scapegoat others for the country’s ills and threaten a “final solution”-like remedy for it.
If a Democrat at an Obama rally screamed for the killing of McCain or Palin, then Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and a plethora of conservative pundits would call for that Democrat’s incarceration and execution. Yet at a Republican rally supporters are free to boo, cajole and threaten any way they see fit, with the candidate’s joking support.