Monday, October 13, 2008

The Religious Wrong and the bravest man in America

The last time a crowd of otherwise law-abiding citizens transformed themselves into bloodthirsty mobs the way supporters of McCain-Palin do was at the trial that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Now, I’m not saying McCain is Pontius Pilot or that Barack Obama is Christ, but when the crazy hyperbole gets flying it’s hard to resist joining in on the fun.

Nobody on the planet comes unhinged like the Religious Wrong. You’d think the disastrous Bush presidency would at least leave them open-minded to having someone they wrongly suspect to be a closet Muslim might be worth a try, but no. And again I’m left to wonder why a group that so vocally declares to have found one Messiah is always so restlessly seeking another.

Clearly, they haven’t found him in McCain, whose campaign is in the midst of what will be regarded as a historic meltdown. By any measure, this is one of the worst campaigns we’ve seen in the past 30 years. Just today, one of the leading conservative voices in the country (i.e. “enormous horse’s ass”) Bill Kristol urged McCain to fire his entire staff and start again.

With 22 days before the election! Yeah, great time to start all over in a campaign that’s been going on for two years.

The John McCain I’ve always admired finally resurrected himself last week when he proved he’s the second bravest man in America. He did this by standing up to his own frothing supporters to tell them that, contrary to what Palin’s been telling them, that Barack Obama’s a decent family, a proud American and that, no, we have nothing to fear with him as our president.

For this he was booed.

And now, for him, it’s too late. This election’s over. It’s destined to be won by the bravest man in America.

That’s Barack Obama.

Unlike McCain, he’s never had to duck a bullet, never gone into combat or had to crash land behind enemy lines.

But what he’s doing today is braver than anything any veteran’s done in those fearsome circumstances.

He’s standing near naked before crowds of 20,000 to 80,000 people knowing that there’s a well-armed and hate-filled fraction of America that wants him dead. We all know of bitter racists, deranged religious zealots, and Right Wing crazies -- sometimes all three in one -- and we know some of them have lethal potential.

They shout “Kill him!,” “Traitor!” and “Off with his head!” at rallies. Just today, the chairman of the Virginia GOP, Jeffrey Frederick, said he was no different than Osama bin Laden. Think that won’t egg on some deranged believer to begin diabolical plots in the belief that they’re patriotically acting with God on their side?

John Wilkes Booth, an actor with the equivalent popularity that Brad Pitt enjoys today, pulled the trigger behind Abraham Lincoln’s ear and brazenly jumped on the Ford Theater stage knowing he'd be recognized and believing he’d be hailed as a hero.

I can’t fathom the bravery of a father of two young daughters who’ll go out and stand on a stage knowing that his opposition is saying he’s dangerous, that he’s chummy with Al-Quaeda, and that their most primal fears about dark-skinned men with exotic names are more than justified.

I hope Obama wins in landslide. Then I hope he gets into the White House and plants himself so deeply into the secure bunker so that no one can hurt him or his family.

And then I hope he begins to do many great things.

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