Monday, October 13, 2008

John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Their Raging Supporters

As I continue to watch the odd twists and turns of the election season, I cannot help but be somewhat taken aback at the level of anger that is being shown by the supporters of John McCain and Sarah Palin. There have been outbursts during some of the speeches made by McCain and Palin calling Barack Obama a "terrorist" and the Secret Service is investigating whether a supporter shouted out "Kill Him" during a speech given by Sarah Palin in Florida. This level of anger from supporters has been invigorated ever since the McCain campaign has decided that the "gloves are coming off" in the remaining days before the election. This has resulted in increased attacks against Barack Obama for his association with William Ayers, a fear that Obama "isn't one of us", and has led Sarah Palin to famously quip that Obama is "palling around with terrorists." As John McCain desperately tries to attempt to put the genie back in the bottle, let's take a look at some videos and comments that have relevance to this discussion.

There has been some very interesting footage that has been circulating recently of McCain supporters waiting to get into speaking events. Take this video from outside an event in Strongsville, Ohio:

This type of sentiment has also found its way inside McCain rallies. During this clip, you can hear a McCain supporter yell "terrorist" in response to McCain's question: "Who is the real Barack Obama?":

This type of behavior has drawn criticism from some who claim that the McCain/Palin ticket has been fueling this type of behavior. This criticism has led to John McCain defending Barack Obama during recent town hall meetings and even getting booed by his own supporters:

All of this and Cindy McCain still believes that Obama is running the "dirtiest campaign in American history."

On October 10, Frank Schaeffer wrote an open letter to John McCain that appeared in the Baltimore Sun. Schaeffer supported John McCain his Presidential bid in 2000 and is the son of the evangelist Francis Schaeffer. Frank has worked in the past with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and has chronicled his life growing up with religion in numerous books. Schaeffer has come out in support of Obama and feels that the McCain campaign has released a dangerous hatred from within his supporters. Part of his open letter is below:

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.


...John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post- 9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

Frank Schaeffer also mentioned during an interview today, that this type of language being used by McCain and Palin is stirring up anger within certain subcultures within this country that resonate with Sarah Palin and her background.

Journalist Max Blumenthal is back from a trip to Alaska where he visited Sarah Palin's church of 20 years and interviewed people that Palin has been involved with during her political career including the former Chair of the Alaskan Independence Party Mark Chryson. (Video here) Blumenthal documented his trip in some videos, one of which is below:

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