“Sowing Seeds of Hatred”

Representative John Lewis has compared Palin’s and McCain’s rhetoric to that of George Wallace, a notorious segregationist.

In a statement issued Saturday, Lewis said McCain and running mate Sarah Palin were ”sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.” He noted that Wallace also ran for president.

”George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights,” said Lewis, who is black.

McCain says that he is shocked and outraged by the comparison, and he has certainly tried to moderate the responses of some in the crowds.  But the line outside his appearance at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania shows how out of control his supporters’ opinions can be. 

In the defense of the people you are about to see, I think it should be stressed that they are themselves probably giving a show.  They are performing for the cameras and the protesters.  Still, what they want to put on is pretty bad:

It is, I think, very unfortunate that neither campaign took on the issue of hate speech when Clinton was the target.  We have had months and months when the country could have been talking about bias and hatred and the bad foundation it provides for one’s vote.

10 thoughts on ““Sowing Seeds of Hatred”

  1. This is sad, I think these people really believed what they were saying. At a time of economic crisis and wartime people are already fearful and this style of politics do not help in any way.

  2. I think your defense may be too generous. Here are two more recent videos of good folks in Strongsville, Ohio who support McCain/Palin:

  3. then all of us need to take up/speak out on the issue of this hate speech and its latest versions where McCain and Palin fail to challenge their supporters’ words and actions. instead they reinforce-repeat their words and attributions with shrugs and things left unsaid/challenged. these words-actions are seeping into peoples’ consciousness. some are starting to believe that Obama is speaking on the same negative level as McCain until i asked for an example of such talk from obama. …yes, we are still paying for the keating 5 bailout and deregulations. finally, the internet scuttle is that Palin’s prophesy is that she’s “Esther”.

  4. Suzientn,

    There’s a difference between the ugliness captured in the video to which you’ve provided a link and the ugliness of the McCain/Palin supporters captured in the videos to which I’ve provided links. Folks in the latter, but not in the former, invoke or imply racial bigotry and xenophobia. That’s an addition to the nastiness spread across the political spectrum. And I bet those New Yorkers could much more readily adduce verifiable facts as the basis of their outrage than those McCain/Palin supporters.

  5. I was interested, but not surprised, to note in the video in the main blog post the complete absence of any people of colour in the crowd lined up to see McCain. I imagine it would be pretty intimidating (and was for one black news cameraman recently) being in that crowd. Yet McCain usually has some non-white faces in the crowd directly behind (i.e. within TV frame) him at many (most?) of his rallies. One then wonders: are they perhaps the only non-white people in the room, so to speak? I’m curious if anyone knows anything about this. I’m a naturalized American who has since left the country in part because it was all starting to feel a little too scary and I wondered: at what point should one really just get the hell out of here. I’m lucky that I had someplace else to go.

  6. Rob, Thanks. I’m not sure I meant exactly to defend them, but rather to offer a reason for thinking that the ugliness might have an element of theater. I’ll have to watch your videos, but I think any visible camera might induce a performance in these circumstances.

    To Captiver: I agree it is scary. A lot of it has been at least latent for as long as I can remember, but it is so destructive for P and M to bring it out into political life. If Obama is elected and is a good president, the States might end up purging some of these feelings over 4-8 years, I suppose. I am an uneasy resident, though.

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