IT WAS COLD. It was windy. It was Illinois. The thousands of people gathered on the field had journeyed to witness something that had never been seen. Something so improbable, so extraordinary, so fantastic that its mere existence was thought to be the stuff of myth
A viable Black presidential candidate.
It was February 10, 2007, when Barack Obama announced that he was running for the presidency; and since that day, he has been an unrelenting political force of nature, laying waste to the ambitions of every other campaign that dared stand in his path. Over the past 20 months he has out-muscled a crowded field of better-known Democratic candidates; smashed every fundraising record ever set; laid the smack down on the formerly formidable Hillary Clinton. And during two debates, he managed to make John McCain look even crankier than he usually seems.The end result is that despite his relative lack of experience and a name straight outta deepest, darkest Africa, Obama has garnered himself a substantial lead in every poll in nearly every battleground state.
But that was then and this is now; and right now Bammers is being hit by some of the McNastiest attacks ever seen in modern presidential politics. A University of Wisconsin study stated that during one October week, nearly 100 percent of McCains advertisements were negative, meaning that the Republican nominees campaign is operating entirely on the premise that he can scare enough people into not voting for Obama. A recent television ad accused Obama of having worked for a radical education group. At McCain rallies, speakers make sure to mention that his middle name is Hussein. The Chairman of the Republican Party in Virginia compares him to Osama bin Laden. Sarah Palin insists over and over again that he pals around with terrorists. Even McCains sugarmama of a wife has gotten in on the act, saying that Barack sent a cold chill through her body (and no it wasnt because she caught that Jungle Fever).
The result? Events where McCain supporters angrily shout out that Obama is a terrorist who has committed treason and that someone should kill him. A Black photographer traveling with the McCain campaign was called a nigger by a member of the audience at a rally. Persistent Internet lies are abound that Barack wont say the Pledge of Allegiance and that he was educated by jihadists in Indonesia. And members of the Jewish community have received emails falsely claiming that Obama is secretly a Muslim and a threat to the state of Israel.
Oy vey. But its more disturbing how McCains campaign staff has responded. In one sentence they say they do not believe that such language has a place in politics, but in the next they say that McCain cannot be held responsible for what a few kooks say at a rally. Yeah, that might be true if Governor Winkie of Alaska was not doing her damndest to make Barack look like a terror-loving terrorist. It might be true if Cindy McCain were not a white woman who admitted that a Black man frightened her. And it even might be true if this werent the same Dont-Let-them-Darkie-Loving-Democrats-Steal-Our-Country strategy employed by Nixon and Reagan in the 1970s and 80s or the Dont-Let-the-Gays-Get-Hitched methodology W. used to win his two terms.
Whats really scary is that McCains staff believes that if they keep up these tactics they might just win. Yes, McNasty may have recently told the staff at his headquarters that he wants to run a respectful and civil campaign, but I doubt they listened. His staff knows that in 2004, four battleground statesIowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Wisconsinwith a total of 26 electoral votes, were decided by roughly 10,000 votes or less.This year, 10,000 votes may be all that is needed to win in Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Virginiastates with a total of 65 electoral votes. I guarantee you that there are way more than 10,000 kooks in each of those states who are more than willing to drink the Hater-ade Team McCain is pouring.
Hopefully, Johnny will put an end to this strategy of spreading the message that Barack is the Boogie-Woogie Bogeyman from Company B: not for Obamas sake but for his. McCain has a deep love of history (he should, hes been around for most of it) and I doubt that he wants to be remembered as the guy who tried to brand the first African-American nominee of any major political party a terrorist. And if Palin cares anything about her future plans to run for president, shell drop the shtick too, because Republicans already have a hard enough time attracting voters of color, and the complexion of this country is only going to get browner in the next decade.
So my message to John McCain is this: Dont be on the wrong side of history. Barack Obamas policies may offend you; electing a President with zero experience in an executive role may cause you great concern. Your inability to match his fundraising might, recruit more volunteers, out-debate the man or slow down his seemingly unstoppable march to the White House may frustrate the hell out of you thats understandable. Allowing all of that to cause you and your supporters to blatantly lie and denigrate the character of a man because his journey to where he is now is somehow too improbable, too fantastical and just too different from your own
that truly is an abomination.