Ignore Ignorance

This world is a funny place…

Old Man vs. O’bomb’a

Posted by Brandon McKoy on October 9, 2008

The past few days of the 2008 Election have seen a lot of talk about associations, grandiose assumptions, and terrorists. The McCain/Palin campaign have kept to their word and launched a continuous barrage of character attacks at Barack Obama, particularly over his light relationship with William Ayers. While throwing this red meat at their rallies, the two Republican candidates have incited some supporters to scream violent threats directed at Senator Obama; including “Terrorist” and “Kill Him”. (Question here: Has there been any previous United States Presidential Campaign in which one ticket accused the head of the other ticket of hanging out with terrorists? I’m serious, cause I’ve been looking but I can’t find a concrete answer…I do however have my assumptions of what it is.)

Some question whether or not the Republicans are purposefully inciting these feelings in their base. I’d have to say that considering the campaign stated it would be “taking the gloves off,” they know exactly what they are doing (Introducers say Barack Hussein Obama but not John Sidney McCain). If they didn’t want this kind of reaction, they would stifle it immediately instead of simply releasing a statement condoning it. Coming from a man like John McCain who insists on action instead of talking, you would think he’d know that. But, this is politics; are any of us really surprised that its gotten to this point?

There is however something which disturbs me about how Republican pundits and supporters defend this action. Many (after being asked about the ethics of portraying Senator Obama as a terrorist associate) retort that the Obama campaign has been equally harsh and unfair in portraying Senator McCain as an angry, erratic old man. Let’s weigh the two:

  • On one hand we have the Democratic campaign asserting that Senator McCain is an old angry man who is anything but “steady at the tiller.” This also highlights his health concerns, causing people to wonder whether or not the Republican candidate could serve out his entire term. The inherent characteristics of a stereotypical old man are inconsistency, crankiness, anger, and senility. These descriptors hardly invoke much emotion if at all; maybe sadness.
  • On the other hand we have the Republican campaign accusing the Democratic Senator of associating with terrorists, and have even caused some supporters to believe that he is one himself. Terrorism inherently induces thoughts of conflict, evil, violence, death, and most importantly the events and players (Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, etc.) of September 11th. The root word of terrorism is terror, a term which invokes fear of “the other”, mystery, and anger.

The harshest thing that has happened to John McCain because of “old man characteristics” is David Letterman embarrassing him live on national television. No one has threatened violence against him simply because he’s 72, they’ve just hurled innocent jokes his way.

There are several violent, despicable acts directed at Barack Obama simply because of his “otherness,” let alone terrorist assumptions. He’s the first serious Black Presidential candidate in the history of this country and, as Dubois put it, “otherness” is impossible to avoid. From death threats to Republican supporters becoming violent with minority members of the media, there is nothing funny or innocent about trying to paint the Illinois Senator as a terrorist associate. All it will do is increase the amount of illegitimate anger; illegitimate because these are attacks based on untrue character associations, not policy positions.

So please, don’t try to say that John McCain being portrayed as an old man is just as unfair as Obama being assumed a terrorist associate. One is clearly dangerous while the other is not, and for a man who is already facing anger and hate because of his skin color, “terrorist” is just another term to make Senator Obama seem dangerous and untrustworthy. The fact that these charges are based on such a flimsy argument (guilt by association) makes them all the more disappointing and sad. All of this has nothing to do with the issues nor the most dangerous economic crisis facing our country (and our world in this global economy) since the Great Depression.

However, just to make a point, when there’s nothing else to go on I like to go straight to the video tape. There’s just one thing: There is no video (nor any) evidence of Barack Obama supporting or engaging in terrorist activities. There’s plenty of video evidence of John McCain being an angry, erratic, and even senile (note the space astronaut comment near the end) old man:


I should’ve just posted this, makes my point better than anything I could’ve said:


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