It’s October and just like what happens every four years at this time, one side of the pageant we like to call a presidential election is going negative. We, the public and press, will act all surprised and maybe even a little outraged at some of the things one campaign, or its supporters, says and the conversation will remain there. We won’t talk about the real issues – neither side in this year’s event actually acknowledged that in January they will have to make some very tough decisions regarding what promises they may be able to keep right away and which ones will have to be scrapped all together because we just won’t have the money. While the negativity does not surprise me at all, for some reason the mock horror expressed at it does. Not by the campaigns themselves – Barack Obama’s supporters should be upset by what Sarah Palin has been repeating at every speech. Moreover, we all should be worried when people attending rallies think it is fine to yell out things like “Kill him!” when referencing a candidate for president. John McCain was right when he told one woman that she need not fear Obama but if anyone didn’t think the campaign would go there, well I don’t know under what rock those people have been living. Back when it was assumed that McCain’s Democratic opponent would be Senator Clinton, he did not correct the supporter at an event who said she hoped he would ‘beat the bitch.’ And that was during the primary season when the gloves were on. And remember, the rumors about Senator Barack Hussein Obama have been swirling around for years – he’s a Muslim (and if he was, why is that bad again?), he took his oath of office on the Koran, his wife hates America… They play right into the GOP’s culture war campaign handbook, just look back to how Dubya won Ohio in 2004 (gay marriage) or for that matter the biggest reason Jesse Helms was in the Senate as long as he was. Personally, these accusations seem simultaneously so ridiculous – you cannot, for instance, blast the minister of his Christian church AND call him a Muslim and offensive to be true but people believe them.
The bright side is that all of the press about the blatant racism of some of McCain’s supporters may piss more people on the other side off enough to make sure they vote. It’s very easy to become complacent when your candidate is ahead in the polls and the economy is tanking (whichever party has the White House when this happens usually suffers come election day). This reminds me of part of a song from the musical Into the Woods:
Someone is on your side
Someone else is not
While we’re seeing our side
Maybe we forgot: they are not alone.
No one is alone.
While this marathon of a campaign is almost over, a few weeks in politics is a lifetime and every time you hear something so outrageous that you cannot believe anyone would believe it remember: someone probably does.