I been meaning to blog on this topic. A registered Republican that I know and respect wrote the following. I have permission to post it to my blog, but I do not have permission to reveal the author as this person would like to remain anonymous. Since I couldn’t agree more, here it is, unedited by me in anyway. I’m curious if others out in blogville are us disturbed by the hate rhetoric and scare tactics of the last week as I am.
There are just a few weeks left in our Presidential election. In recent days, we have noticed a significant increase in the mud-slinging with more harsh and personal attacks. Many talk shows, newscasts, etc. are weighing in on how this negative campaigning is going to impact the election on November 4th. Although that is a valid topic to discuss, I think it is more important to think proactively about how this will impact politics and America after the election.
In recent days, Senator McCain’s campaign and their lead supporters have been focused on ‘firing up the base’. This includes strong innuendos about Senator Obama stealing the election, being sympathetic to terrorists, being a terrorist, being friends with a priest that hates America and white people, calling our troops baby killers, etc. In the heat of a campaign, each candidate will do or say whatever it takes to win. Those are the facts of political campaigns when the stakes are high. However, is this approach really ‘firing up the base’ or is it ‘angering the base’. Unfortunately, when taking mud-slinging to this next level, it creates deep anger. With that in mind, it is of the utmost importance to look past the election and really think about the residual impact of this anger. A proactive look into a hypothetical future may save us in the post election era.
For argument sake, let’s say Obama wins the election. Given the extreme approach of ‘angering the base’ with the strong innuendos during the last weeks of the campaign, will that base calm down after the election? Definitely not. Unfortunately, adding defeat into the equation, they will be even more fired up and angry. For the extremists on the right, this will not be a typical “sore looser” syndrome, but residual anger and hate. What if a person from the extreme base was so angry that they felt that they can ‘save America from a presidential terrorist’? That’s a scary thought. But, is it really out of the realm of possibility given the narrative of the current campaign and the constant drumbeat of scare tactics? After all, the outcries that are heard at some recent campaign rallies are showing signs that misguided and unwarranted anger is brewing. If someone from this angry base takes it upon themselves after the election to be a weapon and take matters into their own hands, just think about how that will play out. Right wing talk show hosts will first be silently blamed and then directly blamed. This anger will eventually turn into a democrat vs. republican divide because now both sides are ‘fired up’ and ‘angry’. And, obviously, this will create a black vs. white divide that could throw us back culturally 150 years. In September, I would have just brushed off this futuristic thought. Within the last 2 weeks, it is a valid concern worth highlighting. At this point, I have to ask “Could this be the Tipping Point of a truly divisive country that has a point of no return?”
Instead of trying to answer that question, it is worthwhile to answer this question “After the election, how can we remedy this disastrous foundation that has been laid in the past 2 weeks?” It will take a lot of effort to quickly change from a divisive approach to a unified approach and to alleviate the pent up anger that the election phase has created. Keep in mind that the fire has already been lit inside the extremists of the base. So, it is imperative that this fire does not result in the scenario above. Instead, the talk show narrative immediately after the election needs to focus on unification, cooperation, and bringing the discussions back to a healthy debate, not a hatred one. I honestly feel that if this is not the immediate focus post the election, then the tipping point on politics and America can be marked as November 5, 2008.