Saturday, October 25, 2008

McCain and Palin have crossed the line with their McCarthyite attacks

I received another McCain campaign mailer this weekend claiming that Barack Obama is a terrorist.

Enough is enough!

McCain, Palin and the Republican Party have crossed the line with their McCarthyite attempt to associate Barack Obama with Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground. Their irresponsible and dishonest ads are promoting an atmosphere of fear and anger that increases the potential for violence against Barack Obama and his campaign volunteers.

Barack Obama is a United States Senator, a former editor of the Harvard Law Review, constitutional law professor, and community organizer and a candidate for the President of the United States. His Grandfather fought in World War II. His Grandmother, gravely ill, was a bank Vice President.

He is no more a terrorist than I am the Pope!

Obama was 8 years old when Bill Ayers was active in the Weather Underground. The fact that Obama and Ayers, Chicago's Citizen of the Year in 1997, have served on some philanthropic boards together and live in the same neighborhood is irrelevant. I serve on several boards and know nothing about the personal or political histories of my fellow directors. Nor do I have any control over my neighbors political activities or their past actions even though I have been welcomed into their homes.

William C. Ibershof, the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s, recently repudiated McCain's efforts when he wrote::" I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child."

It's a thoughtful letter that repudiates the McCain campaign's unprincipled attempt to malign Barack Obama for events that he had no role in.

McCain's suggestion that Obama condones violence and intimidation to pursue political objectives turns American history on its head.

Violence and terror have mainly been used as political weapons by the American right wing.

Following the Civil War the planter class that had provoked the War by seceding organized violent, white supremacist paramilitary organizations like the White League in Louisiana and the the Red Shirts in Mississippi, North and South Carolina, to terrorize and murder African- Americans for exercising their newly won freedoms.

Black political participation declined precipitously, reconstruction was betrayed and African Americans were stripped of their constitutional rights for almost 100 years.

The terrorist Ku Klux Klan enforced the post-reconstruction system of racial segregation (Jim Crow) throughout the south through beatings, cutting off fingers, burning down houses, and destroying the crops of African Americans.

Murder was common. There were 5,000 lynchings which were often treated like festivals by white families enjoying the spectacle of execution as entertainment in the post Civil War period. More often, victims were lynched by a small group of white vigilantes under the cover of night. While hanging was most common, some victims were beaten, burned, stabbed, shot, or slowly tortured to death.

Violence was also been routinely used against American workers for trying to bring democracy to the workplace. Workers were routinely fired, evicted from the company owned housing, beaten and murdered for simply trying to organize. From the Colorado and West Virginia coal wars through Andrew Carnegie's use of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to the Henry Ford's secret police headed by the notorious Harry Bennett, terror was employed by employers against their own employees.

More recently, terror was used by states rights extremists against Americans organizing non-violently to extend citizenship rights to African Americans.

Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers, Michael Schwerner Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Viola Liuzzo among others were brutally murdered. Others were viciously beaten, including Georgia Congressman John Lewis, and hosed. Bombings, most notoriously of the 16th Street Baptist Church, were frequent.

Pro-life terrorists bombed and burned women's health clinics and murdered doctors who performed legal abortions more than 150 times between 1982 and 1996.

McCain and Palin's attempt to undermine Barack Obama's growing support by labeling him a terrorist has not worked.

It won't because he is not and because the American people have real concerns like the losing their jobs, their homes, their life savings, their health care and their sons in daughters in an ill conceived war. But by suggesting that Barack Obama is a terrorist and associating him with the 9/11 attack on America, McCain and Palin are creating an atmosphere of hate and fear that is fertile ground for extremists among their followers.

If there is, God forbid, an attack on Barack Obama, the blood will be on their hands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agreed this has gotten to a scary level and unfortunately has people believing crazy things. Hopefully on the 5th we can get past this and bring the country back together.