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article imageOp-Ed: John McCain Has Fueled The Hate Express

By Sadiq Green     Oct 28, 2008 in Politics
Is it any surprise that federal agents uncovered a plot to kill Barack Obama? Surely we all knew from the moment he announced his candidacy for President that he had a bulls eye on his back that was as large as the symbol of big box retailer Target.
It is a reality that Mr. Obama has understood and accepted as part of the burden of breaking the stranglehold of White males on the most powerful elected office in the world. In fact, the reality was such that the Secret Service even acknowledged the special burden carried by the senator when they made the decision to provide protection at a point earlier than has been the tradition in presidential campaigns.
Even with the recognition of the inherent dangers Senator Obama faces in trying to penetrate the last bastion of White hegemony in electoral politics, the news of the plot uncovered by the agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is disturbing. The fact that the plotters are two young White males is all the more troubling because it suggests that despite all the progressive sentiment we hear from young people today, there is still ignorance among some that suggests we had better take heed of their estrangement.
Much is made of urban violence and gang activity in Black communities. Very little is spoken however, about the incidents in which young White men commit horrendous acts of violence. Whether it be Timothy McVeigh, of Oklahoma bombing fame, or Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the culprits who committed mass murder at Columbine High School, Americans have paid little attention to the degree to which young White men invest in racial stereotyping to compensate for their own shortcomings, socially, economically or intellectually.
On the contrary, these incidents are quickly dismissed as aberrations or the result of some personal trauma that triggers an unexpected violent episode. While politicians and media pundits get on their soapbox when young Black men are involved in anti-social behavior, young White men, similar to those plotting to kill Senator Obama and many others get a pass.
What is particularly troubling about the reported plot is that it is possible that the level of racial hatred that we are witnessing in the closing weeks of this campaign can be traced directly to Senator John McCain fanning the flames on the campaign trail. The Arizona Senator has provided the fuel for the ugliness we are seeing as we approach Election Day, by questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship, patriotism and faith, and then inferring that he is somehow anti-American in contrast to the so- called pro-America values he and Sarah Palin claim are evident in her ticket’s supporters. John McCain has given license to every ignorant, White racist quack out there with a racial grievance.
Would the two aspiring Oswald/Sirhans attempt to push their plot forward without the background noise of McCain and Palin? Perhaps. But like a car that can go just a few more miles on fumes, I contend these two young men were fueled by McCain’s co-signing of the racist paranoia that has gripped many Whites over the prospect of an Obama presidency. And it doesn’t stop there. The hoax engineered by a McCain campaign worker, insisting that she had been attacked by a Black supporter of Senator Obama and had a backward “B” scratched on her face, presumably to “mark” her for Obama, smacks of the Charles Stuart incident years ago in Boston or the Susan Smith incident in South Carolina.
Furthermore, the manner in which some media outlets jumped on the story, despite it originating from John McCain's campaign people, exposes the degree to which scare tactics are being used to inflame White passions. Apparently since he has not been able to gain traction on the issues and is now fighting for survival in what were traditionally safe “Red” states, John McCain’s last pitch is Whiteness. If for no other reason than Barack Obama’s race, the McCain campaign is hoping White voters hold fast to race loyalty in casting their ballots.
Now, you could suggest that I am being hypocritical in arguing that John McCain is using race to appeal to White voters when there is obviously a tidal wave of Black support for Barack Obama. Here is the difference: much of it driven by racial pride. Senator Barack Obama has wrapped his campaign in a universal message that acknowledges the cultural significance of a Black candidate. It is a message invested in a hopefulness that is inclusive while acknowledging the unique history of Black Americans.
On the other hand, Senator John McCain has chosen a different and darker route, trading on race as a means to rile White voters and stoke their anger. How many times has John McCain said that he is angry and that his supporters should be too? But if anger is at the root of their voting, why would they be angry with Barack Obama? Differences on policy are to be expected but for John McCain to appeal to the lowest common denominator – race - in angry whites, is an appeal that has far more to do with White supremacy than it does with winning the White House.
When this election is finally over, the Republican Party may possibly find itself the equivalent of the racist National Party of South Africa after apartheid. What could have been an engagement that brought out the best in America and a time of celebration for the progress she has made, could be turned into a hate party with invitations courtesy of John McCain.
McCain/Palin: Hate You Can Believe In
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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