Saturday, October 25, 2008

Powell, George Wallace, and the Dangers of Right-Wing Extremism

I was struck by so many things during Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, but one part that really stood out to me was his discussion of the increasing "narrowness" of the McCain campaign -- the real ugliness we've seen at their events, as the more extreme elements of the Republican base are sensing more and more that their days are numbered (at least for the time being).

It's perhaps unfair to say that McCain and Palin themselves think these ugly, racist, McCarthyist
things, but I don't think it's a very big leap between that stuff, and what they actually are saying on the campaign trail ("pals around w/ terrorists," etc). To deny that the dots are connected here between the death rattle of The Republican Party and this stuff would, I think, be pretty disingenuous.

Sadly, this seems to be all they believe they have left to say -- which is exactly what happened to George Wallace. He didn't have a "choice" either (if he wanted to win at all costs) -- and so ultimately Congressman Lewis' comparison was far more apt than people realize. McCain is very much like George Wallace was (before he recanted/redeemed himself, of course). I hope that one day he will look back at his campaign and feel ashamed at some level -- just like Wallace did. 

The idea that these kinds of things are still shouted openly, and that politicians even fan these flames, or take no meaningful steps to tamp them, is deeply troubling. I am reminded also of the terrible things said about Rabin at Benyamin Netanyahu's campaign rallies during the Israeli elections in 1995. Also desperate to win at all costs, Netanyahu and The Likud Party did nothing to quell the repeated shouts of "traitor, murderer," etc. Rabin was assassinated on November 4th, 1995. Netanhayu defeated Shimon Peres (Rabin's successor) narrowly in the 1996 elections.


Stephen Lester Thompson, PhD said...

Great point. The part I can't wrap my mind around is that death threats are being shouted at a presidential candidate in the presence of McCain's Secret Service detail--don't they have an obligation to arrest such people?

Blogger said...

Did you know that you can create short links with Shortest and earn $$$$$ from every visit to your shortened urls.