A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver October 9, 2008 - 7:34pm
If ever you doubted the power of right-wing radio, then these videos should put all doubt to rest. These people did not come to these positions out of thin air. They have been prepped.The videos reminded me of the video of those who gathered outside Central High School in Little Rock, and even of the video from MLK's march in the Cicero neighborhood of Chicago.
I must object to the spreading of such videos, especially the first one. I don't think it is adding to the civility of this campaign, nor to our seeing our fellow citizens as fallible human beings like ourselves. Nor is it Christian.
I couldn't agree more, JC. It's absolutely uncivil and un-Christian to say the things these people are saying on the video.
I'm not trying to defend anything anyone says in the videos. Of course, they are wrong. Please tell me why you want to share this with us? Why do some Obama people go to McCain rallies and yell at McCain supporters? How does this advance civil society? Are they not there to provoke them into saying things like this, so that they can spread these videos? Do you think they had meaningful dialog with people they disagreed with that day?
I'm sorry, JC, but the only people I hear screaming are the McCain supporters. Maybe this whole thing was staged, maybe the Obama supporters were doing something absolutely horrible to these people prior to turning on their cameras. I sort of doubt it, but if a video showing such a thing surfaces, I'll be sure to post it. I only post this to note the state of our political discourse at the moment. But, from where I stand, the responsibility for that sorry state seems to lie disproportionately with the McCain campaign and its supporters.
JC: A central problem is that this doesn't come from nowhere. Here is Sullivan's link to the latest McCain ad:http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/all-they-go... campaign is fomenting a vicious cycle--it is a snake eating its tail. Rather than stopping this sort of thing, McCain/Palin are giving people license to act and say this way. I also wish religious leaders (esp in our church) would speak up. Instead we get this, at an especially ugly McCain rally:"O God, we are in a battle that is raging for the soul of this nation," the preacher said. "You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this." The preacher went on: "Help them, O God, to strengthen our economy, to keep our taxes and spending low . . . and grant them the privilege of being elected the next president and vice president."Read the WaPo story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/08/AR200810...
I invite you consider the election of 1800. The newspapers are especially revolting.To me, this video has little to do with our political discourse, but rather shows that human nature is flawed and mobs bring out a side of people that makes me think that Calvin was right.As for people who share these videos, I don't know, but I suspect they like feeling superior to other people.
I will admit that Obama has until very recently run one of the cleanest, most upright campaigns in a long time.
I just read the WaPo thing, and that is disturbing, especially all the Hussein stuff. I guess they are getting desperate because they are going to lose. You know, when I lived in Seattle, I really didn't like liberals. Now I live in the midwest, and I don't like Republicans. Groupthink makes people stupid. I'm think videos like this will make liberals think that all Republicans are like this.
JCI "get" you and agree.
Ironically, I think this submission reflects more poorly on Mr. Pealver than on those in the videos.
How does the Bob Dylan song go?But it ain't him to blameHe's only a pawn in their game.The blame goes to those who try to bring out the worst and not the best in any of us.
McCain is taking a calculated risk that if he can incite (and there is no other word for it) the farthest right of the GOP they will come out strong for him AND make up for the moderates that used to make up his base until a few months ago. But it seems that the more he panders to these people the more he loses from the center.It will be interesting to see what repercussions this has after he loses the election. Will the far right get stronger or weaker? What will happen to the conservative movement?We have been watching this uneasy alliance between a sophisticated pro-business right and an unsophisticated nationalist right since Reagan. It is now falling apart. I wonder if the truly principled conservatives will now be able to make a comeback?
When I opened this morning's paper the political cartoon showed a huge sign saying,"FORGET ABOUT THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE. YOU'RE STUPID. YOU BELEIVE SARAH PALIN'S GARBAGE ABOUT OBAMA." Next to the sign is a little guy, identified as VOTER, who says, "John McCain approved THAT message?"I guess we don't beieve in "uniter, not divider" among those Christian conservatives any more.
Andrew Sullivan is concerned that McCain and Palin are creating a climate where violence might occur. I'm not sure he is wrong.http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/the-dangero...
I'm sorry, but I can't see how "naming and shaming" such behavior "reflects poorly" on Eduardo Penalver. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and if we had only been more insistent, more diligent, more outspoken in pushing for disclosures we may not have had scandals from the church's own sexual abuse crisis to the last eight years of corruption, human rights violations, malfeasance, unjust war, and now a financial meltdown, to name just a few. It is vanity when we look in a mirror; it is salutary when others hold up the mirror and catch us at angles we may not like.
Sunlight is the best disinfectantBut the sun, like the rain, falls on the just and unjust alike. There are all manner of attitudes and human foibles and rational thought seems to preclude many people when the hysteria of a political election cycle rolls around. I have even heard (but haven't seen much evidence of that here lately) that this applies even to some Democrats. That is part of the subtext of the point but it is deeper than just a tit for tat thing. It is an issue of understanding and fair play for a public opinion journal, particularly one that operates out of a faith stance.We all say...let's just talk about issues.....In Canada, Kim Campbell (former Tory Prime Minister) said that it was impossible to have a rational discussion about health care in an election. Too higly emotionally charged and very easy to demagogue. At the time, in my idealistic full transparency of issues for the public is a good thing phase, I was offended at this broadside against my ideals. Now I am not so certain. Basically, her view was that leaders just need to have this discussion privately, enact the necessary reforms and spin it however they wish to the unwashed masses. I noticed at the last town hall debate neither McCain nor Obama discussed concrete proposals to address entitlements such as social security and medicaid. Yet, this is a fairly simple issue and the solutions are pretty obvious. It requres political will. However, no politician risks it because the other side can demagogue it. So what do we talk about. THEM creating a climate of fear and violence. THEM being this or that.
I meant social security is a fairly easy solution....
George D writes:"I noticed at the last town hall debate neither McCain nor Obama discussed concrete proposals to address entitlements such as social security and medicaid. Yet, this is a fairly simple issue and the solutions are pretty obvious".They are simple? and the solutions are obvious?
David Gibson said: "Im sorry, but I cant see how naming and shaming such behavior..."Did you mean "behavior" or speech?
Gabriel:On making social security solvent - yes the solutions are simple and obviousl All that it would require is some surrendering of orthodoxy on both camps and a compromise position could be struck. The issue is not the solution, the issue is the political will to do what is necessary.There have been lots of proposals that foundered on ideological not pragmatic grounds.
Health care is a different matter but costs can be managed there. For example, more RPN's instead of GP's for routine examinations. No need for specialized medicine referrals for routine birth deliveries. Most children do not require a pediatrician. Hospitals are too expensive - invest in home care and community health clinics. On many of these points the neo-cons are correct. The problem is that they do not fund the necessary investments due to the strong influnence of professional medical bodies and hospitals which continue to draw the lions share of the funds.I think something like 75% of all health care dollars are spent at the beginning of life (neo-natal) and end of life.
Where it gets complicated is where these issues intersect with deeply held human, spiritual and religious values.... and they invariably do......there's the rub....and there is the complexity!!!!
Another view, from Michael Barone:Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment. Today's liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society. Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don't like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead. Hillary supporters aren't letting go, either:If you havent been a regular here at HillBuzz, you might not know about Gigi Gastons documentary We Will Not Be Silenced on the caucus fraud deliberately orchestrated by the Obama campaign during the primaries. Voter intimidation, registration fraud, vandalism, threats of violence, you name it, Obamas supporters did it. For veterans of the McGovern 72 campaign who remembered thugs and hooligans engaged in similar tactics in service of their own far left candidate, the actions of Obamas followers were so bad that even people whove lived through the last 36 years of ups and downs in America testified that this is the worst thing theyve ever seen happen to our democracy.Gastons documentary continues to gather testimonials from people across the country and we have word now that the people behind these efforts to document what Obama did during the primaries are also cooperating with law enforcement in an investigation into the Obama campaigns efforts to undermine the true will of the people in the general election.
"As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance. The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort," - George Orwell.
What makes these videos so horrifying -- and instructive -- for me is that, for the most part, the people saying these awful things look like people from my neighborhood, parish, family. I keep expecting to see someone I know. I think it's valuable to be reminded that ignorance, fear and hate aren't so foreign and easy to spot as I'd like to think they are. I don't dispute their right to say what they want. But I wish it weren't so easy to get them to say such reprehensible things. I wouldn't be there provoking them. But I wish they weren't so easily provoked.
I regularly peruse left and right blogs, religious and 'secular'.Here is one apposite entry that illustrates a broader point that political culture is completely unable to accomodate difference and 'otherness'. http://www.weeklystandard.com/Weblogs/TWSFP/TWSFPView.asp
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subjects of property and land use law.
Tweets by @commonwealmag
XClick to close (closing in 10s)