Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hatespeak: Damage To The American Psyche

The cultivation of hate and fear on the part of the Republican Party during this election season cannot AT ALL be equaled by what the Democrats are doing/have done. McCain should be ashamed of himself for letting whomever is responsible (and I fear it's McCain himself) drag his campaign into the negative for almost all of the time he has been running. Shameful and very beneath him.

To say it's distasteful is an understatement. To say it entirely underestimates the intelligence of any voter who is not blinded by unhealthy partisanship is more apt. To say it is reckless and damages the American psyche is to the point.

When those McCain and Palin supporters yelled 'kill him' and 'terrorist' after having been urged into destructive and blind mob rage, my eyes were opened. No longer could I trust that responsible politicians were at the helm. It was sad and made me very angry.

We recently saw the movie 'Bobby' which despite its faults, is a dramatically powerful film. It has a thought-provoking ending sequence which features real audio of a speech made by Bobby Kennedy on the 'mindless menace of violence in America' and bears closer scrutiny for its relevance today. The text of that speech in its entirety is here.

The film makes clear that here was a man who inspired thousands of American youth to act in accordance with their better selves for the good of society as a whole, and who was snuffed out before the good that he could accomplish would be fully realized.

In brief, I remember as a child being deeply affected by watching my grade school teacher cry when JFK was killed. We were sent home early, much to my pleasure and confusion. A few years later, I was still too young to digest what the killing of Malcolm X, RFK and Martin Luther King meant to society and in particular those whom they inspired.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with the politics, the utter disregard for the American psyche that political hatespeak engenders is long lasting, slow to heal and crosses party lines. Partisan political strategies should not include inciting fringe elements to kill. The ends DO NOT justify the means no matter what.

The irresponsible parties - and I'm citing McCain and Palin here - at the very least need to fess up to their reckless strategies, show some real leadership and get into healing the divide. They need to re-align the nutcases out there.

You know, there was a time in 1968 when I remember that Sonny Liston was going to fight Cassius Clay - a thoroughly worldwide publicized event - and I thought, 'wonder if someone's going to get shot?'

The America I want to encourage to flourish is free from engendering such thoughts. The fact that Bobby Kennedy's speech is so very relevant today speaks to how far we've come as a society in that regard. Hate, fear, division. These are destructive tactics which are very difficult if not near impossible to contain once they are unleashed. That's what makes their rise to the surface so unbelievable, especially encouraged by those who are in a position of leadership!

I don't wish to be pulled some forty odd years back to those days, by politicians whose bad choices and dum-dum strategies make them so desperate as to incite assassination as an acceptable strategic alternative.

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