The Vocal Minority Strikes (Literally)

On Monday I wrote about what I see as the forming of a new silent majority.  If you have yet to read that, I encourage you to do so because it sets the foundation for how I view what occurred at a Palin rally in North Carolina.

For some time many of us on the left have been revolted by how the entire concept of patriotism has been hijacked by movement conservatism.  It has been transformed from a responsible love for one’s country into a mindless act of adoration in which criticism isn’t seen as constructive, but instead treasonous.

In my Monday piece, I go into a lot more detail, but the short story is that this has finally devolved into a situation in which those same people who wrap themselves in a flag and pass judgement on anyone who disagrees with them, labels them a traitor or a terrorist, have become the vocal minority, not the silent majority from where they were born.

This phenomenon has dove tailed with an increasingly scary display of teeth gnashing at McCain/Palin rallies, but more specifically at Palin rallies.  Nor is the hate on display directed only towards Obama (which one would expect), or towards liberals (I’m used to it), but it’s also spilling over against the media.

At one rally a few weeks ago, an African American sound man was unfortunately told to, “Sit down, boy!” by a Palin supporter.  As ugly as that was, the actual physical violence at another Palin rally may have been uglier.  A reporter covering the event had come across a group of Obama supporters.  As any reporter would, he tried to get some comments from the dissenting group which led to the following:

The man began to say something about how of course I was interviewing the Obama people when suddenly, from behind us, the sound of a pro-Obama rap song came blaring out of the windows of a dorm building. We all turned our heads to see Obama signs in the windows.

This was met with curses, screams and chants of “U.S.A” by McCain-Palin folks who crowded under the windows trying to drown it out and yell at the person playing the stereo.

It was a moment of levity in an otherwise very tense situation and so I let out a gentle chuckle and shook my head.

“Oh, you think that’s funny?!” the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. “Yeah, that’s real funny…” he said.

And then he kicked the back of my leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.

And, no, I’m not going to be like so many others on the left and grant Palin and McCain latitude.  Most, even lefties, will say that the Republican ticket can’t be responsible for the actions of their supporters, and to a certain degree I agree.

There are Obama supporters that do stupid things too.

But the difference is that McCain and Palin have themselves been stoking the hate.  McCain continues to link Obama to terrorism, he refused just last night on Letterman to walk back Palin’s comment that Obama “pals around with terrorists,” even though that claim has been repeatedly demonstrated as false.

I would grant McCain and Palin a world of latitude on this if they were running a largely respectful campaign, but instead they are doing the exact opposite.  Once, McCain corrected a few members at a townhall rally, just once.  He has yet to repudiate the chair of the Virginia GOP, or anyone else for that matter, including his own running mate who has made comments that were most definitely out of bounds.

So if you want someone to sugar coat this, to say, yeah this is terrible, but McCain and Palin can’t really be held responsible, go somewhere else.  Ever since McCain started dwindling in the polls they have been stoking the hate, and you have to know that when you stoke the hate, a fire will erupt.

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