Just this past week Congressman John Lewis found himself in the middle of a Gordian knot. While the McCain-Palin team was inciting incipient bigots to riot; Congressman Lewis had the AUDACITY to ...tell the truth. After several weeks of suffering through Sarah Palin's vapid commentary as the perennial 'hockey mom' (who had been hit in the head by a ...puck--once too often); he spoke out against the new 'Rovian' tactic employed by the equally vapid dynamic duo--which all but accuses Obama of treason.
Sarah Palin goes on a predictable rant. Accusing Obama of 'palling around with domestic terrorists,' and inferring that he's some sort of 21st century Manchurian Candidate--she smiles like a Cheshire Cat to screams from the crowd of ...'kill him,' and other such examples of legally defined hate speech. In short, the McCain-Palin team were inciting a mob to riot. The only thing missing was the lynching rope tied into a flaming necklace.
So, congressman Lewis in his timeless courage and wisdom, spoke the gospel to those who would preach it, but who would live as morally bankrupt thugs. The good congressman accused McCain-Palin of "...sowing the seeds of hatred and division, much as George Wallace did. " The congressman continued to explain..."George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed...Senator McCain and Governor Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all." (Remarks by Congressman John Lewis D-Ga.)
Now most DECENT people would have the good sense to feel shame after the congressman's remarks. Not so with his far right colleagues. Senator Lindsey Graham, a supposed friend of congressman Lewis, was APPALLED by...congressman Lewis' remarks, and NOT Sarah Palin's. McCain, himself actually DEMANDED that Senator Obama censure Congressman Lewis. Nowhere were there any apologies for the obvious racist and increasingly inciteful tone of the McCain campaign.
Lesson learned; according to the McCain mob--people of color or those from an alien religious or cultural background--should stay in their place--under a fascist jackboot, (or in Sarah Palin's case--a tacky stiletto heel). Anyone of a different race, religion or general appearance should cower appropriately and not 'get uppity.'
This is not merely happening to political superstars such as Barak Obama. This type of lynch mob mentality is happening in everytown , USA, and it has an important bearing on the Presidential race, as leadership styles tend to 'trickle down' the legal ladder. Something similar happened to a friend of mine, who by Mid-western, corn-fed intellectually bereft logic--looks ' Middle Eastern.' Ironically, her family background is half Irish and half Italian. Her father is the renowned sculptor chosen some dozen years ago by the Vatican, to create the statue of Pope John Paul in St. Louis. None of this matters when dealing with a bigot.
On more than one occasion, my friend has been stopped by police, told to produce ID and questioned about her nationality. Each time, police accused her of lying about her citizenship. Several officers further accused her of being a Muslim living here in St. Louis illegally. Each time, police demanded to search her car, though no probable cause existed. She had broken no laws, and yet, suffered continual police harassment all because of her appearance. Each time, she was threatened with arrest and possible deportation--all due to the fearful climate of ignorance and bigotry incited by Bush first, then later by McCain-Palin. Why should the police worry about civil rights when our top leaders don't? When the President or a presidential candidate incites mobs to riot against fellow human beings; somehow 'reading their rights' doesn't play high on the program.
What happened to my friend can happen to anyone. The legal framework for a fascist police state is already in place. Section 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act grants the executive , ie. President--the power to invoke martial law. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 allows the President to designate ....ANY PERSON, as an 'enemy combatant.' No proof is required, just the President's opinion. Once named an 'enemy combatant,' you can be kidnapped, held indefinitely, tortured and even executed--all on the President's opinion. NSPD-51 ensures the COG (continuity of government), and allows the President the authority to, (among other things), cancel elections, suspend the constitution and even launch a nuclear strike. HR 1955 and SB 1959, otherwise known as the 'Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act' creates a McCarthy-esque committee which would conduct 'star chamber' interrogations to determine who had committed thought or speech crimes. In short, it allows for political prosecutions worthy of a 'banana republic,' not our once great country. We now live in a country which has criminalized previously constitutionally protected dissent. All of these intolerable acts occurred because Bush created an atmosphere of fear, distrust and bigotry.
Leadership demands not only a quick mind, but a clear conscience. Politicians who incite bigotry and hatred create a climate which spirals into pure barbarism. The President is very much a symbol of our country. Most leaders lead by example; McCain-Palin is setting an example of hate, mass confusion and mass panic. As the nation with the largest nuclear arsenal--can we afford 'leaders' who inspire mob behavior?