Monday, October 13, 2008

The political climate

The depth with which irresponsible attacks on Barack Obama have succeeded really registered with me over the weekend when I saw the clip of the John McCain town hall meeting at which a women expressed her fear of Obama in part "because he's an Arab." To his credit, McCain shook his head to the contrary (the woman admitting her ignorance by sheepishly saying, "No?"), retrieved the microphone and explained otherwise.

Then came Frank Rich's column in Sunday's New York Times, which matter-of-factly zeroed in on the road the McCain campaign has traveled in this regard.

It's been speculated that McCain, sensing defeat on Election Day, now doesn't want his legacy to be a campaign based on hate, and thus his rhetoric has softened. Perhaps.

Meanwhile, similarly over the top was veteran civil rights activist Congressman John Lewis' comparison of McCain to the late racist Gov. George Wallace.

Again, the conversation in this election, the one that most Americans want to hear, is not race or Obama's alleged link to a former domestic terrorist or other personal distractions. We want ideas and proposals on the economy, energy, foreign policy. There's room for disagreement and sharp rhetoric on important matters such as these and others.

Politics ain't beanball. Play hard and fair. But when all the votes have been counted, the idea is for the nation to stand behind its new president.
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