Hang on to your hats, indeed.
News reports say Florida may be moving into the blue column, so Sarah Palin goes to the Sunshine State to bring some maverick change to the people. Turns out the change she’s inspiring so far is not change at all, but a move back to the days when brown-colored humans had to worry for their physical safety.
Yesterday, the Lipsticked Pitbull hit the stump in Clearwater to tell Floridian Republicans that Barack Obama “is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America,” one who is “palling around with a terrorist.” Oooh… he isn’t like “us.”
And the obedient audience turned scary.
From Monday’s Washington Post, Dana Milbank writes:
It was time to revive the allegation, made over the weekend, that Obama “pals around” with terrorists, in this case Bill Ayers, late of the Weather Underground. Many independent observers say Palin’s allegations are a stretch; Obama served on a Chicago charitable board with Ayers, now an education professor, and has condemned his past activities.
“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.
“Boooo!” said the crowd.
“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” she continued.
“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.
“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.
There is more, this time from Milbank’s column in Tuesday’s Post:
[T]he self-identified pit bull has been unleashed — if not unhinged.
Barack Obama, she told 8,000 fans at a rally here Monday afternoon, “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist!” This followed her earlier accusation that the Democrat pals around with terrorists.”
… McCain had said that racially explosive attacks related to Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are off limits. But Palin told New York Times columnist Bill Kristol in an interview published Monday: “I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more.”
Worse, Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”
I thought Republicans believed in personal responsibility. They blame Katie Couric — who can be blamed for a lot, but not for this — because Sarah Palin does not do well speaking without a script and coaching? But I digress.
Anti-Obama violence is even breaking out overseas. Earlier this wee, the Daily Mail in London reports that a Nigerian man wearing an Obama T-shirt and apparently minding his own business found himself at the mercy of a gun-wielding racist.
Dube Egwuatu was buying a mobile telephone top-up card in an off-licence when the gunman confronted him and glared at the top, which carries an image of the Democrat US presidential candidate underneath the legend ‘Believe’.
The man then launched into a tirade of racist slurs, shouting ‘I f***ing hate n*****s’ and urging 36-year-old Mr Egwuatu to leave the shop with him.
‘I did not think for one minute it could stir up such powerful feelings of hatred and I never said a word to him.’
He added: ‘Obama inspires me, his educational track record alone is quite unbelievable – that is why I was wearing the T-shirt.
… The man then left the shop but when Mr Egwuatu re-emerged, the attacker was waiting for him in broad daylight with a threatening-looking dog and holding a gun behind his back.
Realising what had sparked the increasingly violent assault, the terrified Mr Egwuatu zipped up his jacket to cover the image of Mr Obama and walked to his car.
But the shaven-headed man, who was white, followed Mr Egwuatu and after pulling open the passenger door pointed the gun at him.
After pleading with the man to leave him alone, the married former street warden put the keys in the ignition and turned the engine on.
The attacker then fired the gas-powered ball-bearing pistol three times, hitting the civil servant in the face, hand and shoulder.
Fearing for his life and bleeding heavily, Mr Egwuatu raced away in his car and found somewhere safe to call for help.
He was taken to hospital and later sent to have a piece of metal removed from his jaw.
Mr Egwuatu, a data analyst with Croydon Council, said: ‘The venom in his voice was frightening. ‘He was telling me that he was going to kill me.’
This is the change the McCain/Palin ticket inspires (and not just in the US), a change toward backward, hate-filled, negative thinking, a move back to the days of Jim Crow and lynching and brown-hued humans knowing their place, refraining from being “uppity,” and keeping their seats in the back of the bus.
Imagine that you’re a brown-skinned single mom living in a rural town in a red state, or a gay family with kids in the heartland, or a counterculture couple in a conservative neighborhood. Can you understand the fear the sight of a McCain/Palin bumper sticker or yard sign can cause? Can you feel the terror? I’m a brown-colored human living in a fairly large American city in a blue state, and I’m frightened. I have a neighbor down the road who has a McCain sign on his lawn — do you think I am about to walk by his house anytime soon? Hell, no.
If this is what a McCain/Palin presidency promises — an America that inspires the worst in human behavior and necessary distrust of our neighbors — what happens to the economy ultimately does not matter.
This election is turning into a referendum on not only America’s future direction, but also its very soul. The truth is right before us, in black and white. After all, as Sarah Palin reminded us in the most incendiary way possible she could without literally putting the noose around some black man’s neck herself — certain people don’t see “America the way you and I see America.”
Being afraid isn’t good enough. Take your fear and do something constructive with it. Speak out. Register. Vote. Make sure you are part of the solution to keep the US, whatever happens with the economy or other issues, moving forward and not back toward its inglorious past.
by Natalie Davis
Natalie Davis is an award-winning investigative reporter and interviewer who has worked in print and broadcast journalism since 1979. She earned her stripes working for WCVT, WRKA (Louisville), WCBM, CBS-Baltimore, and Sirius Satellite Radio (New York) and as a contributing writer and editor at the Baltimore Alternative and the City Paper alternative weeklies in Baltimore and Washington. Her writings have appeared in publications (print and online) around the world, including the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Afro, Music Monthly, Out Magazine, , Bay Windows, Business Credit, Mademoiselle, Institutional Investor, and many more. A committed pacifist, Davis is also a respected progressive-issues activist, organizer, musician, and public speaker. She co-founded and still moderates the Baltimore Activists Coalition and established the still-vital The Armchair Activist effort, which promotes citizen action for peace, GLBT equality, feminism, progressive issues, and human rights. Additonally, she operates Grateful Dread Public Radio, a community service Internet radio station. Her blog, All Facts and Opinions, resides at http://gratefuldread.net.