There is something terribly wrong in our country. Leaps of logic are flying in random patterns of chaos. The other day there was a letter to the editor in our local paper that stated emphatically that Barack Obama is a Muslim – the evidence, Obama’s middle name and his father was from Africa. What is the root of desperation that drives people to these emotional leaps – unfounded in reality.
There is a post right here on The Fireside Post that uses similar leaps of logic. The Fireside intentionally stokes the flames of cultural conversation – as is noted in our subtitle. But we try to use patterns of logic that follow from a to b to c. We have accused John McCain of stirring the flames of ignorance and prejudice – We base these accusations on the words from the mouths of McCain and Palin.
McCain and Palin consistently use obscure and ambiguous terminology to insinuate that Barack Obama is a domestic terrorist, a Muslim, an evil liberal, a liar, a silver tongued snake, and probably the ant-Christ himself. When Colin Powell endorsed Obama with eloquent and detailed explanations Powell was labeled a racist by the fringe right wing talk radio. They cared nothing for Powell’s words. Unable to defend the logic they labeled Powell a racist.
When supporters of Obama make racist, hate filled statements – Barack Obama condemns the comments. When similar comments are made by McCain supporters McCain inflames the debate with innocent sounding statements of “Who is Barack Obama?” Then McCain smiles when the audience shouts ‘terrorist,’ and “kill him,” and “off with his head.” It becomes obvious that McCain has achieved his desire of stirring the prejudices of the masses – creating a mob mentality – a mentality of dangerous hate.
But we have to ask – what is the root of this anger? We understand McCain desperately trying to paint Obama as anti-American – McCain cares more about winning than he does about civility. But where does the mob anger come from?
Mob mentality is always rooted in fear, in feeling out of control. And extremists on the left and the right are of the same mentality – for extremism is always just extremism. Fundamentalist Christian and Fundamentalist Muslim are the same psychological animal. Inciting the passion of fear is much easier than inciting the passion of forgiveness.
When our lives feel chaotic we search for certainty, something that is sure and concrete. When we are out of control we try to take control – that is a normal human response. When there is a gun crime in our school the fanatics of the left blame the gun culture of the NRA, the fanatics of the right blame the legal assault of the ACLU. Neither solves the problem – but their anger is relieved with someone to blame.
If the McCain/Palin campaign has proved anything it is that there is a growing number of fearful people in America. People willing to join a mob – ready to strike out in prejudicial anger. People who are unable to see hope in their future and resort to finger pointing and blame placing.
Obama speaks to unity and this threatens the Reverend Hagees and Rush Limbaughs of the world. People who have made their fortunes playing to the divisive fear of the masses. Karl Rove took the mentality to the next level – and it worked. We have seen the result of divisiveness in the White House.
The McCain Palin strategy has united the extreme right – but they failed to unite the independents – the people who ultimately choose our President.
It is time to witness real unity as a patriotic strategy.