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Here's the thing that amuses me about Governor Palin getting booed at the Flyers game. It's not that people were being douchebags because ... well, that kind of sucks. It's that either she didn't know hockey fans can be raging douchebags about anything that gets in the way of their hockey (and I say this as somebody who has a family full of hockey fans but, yes, God, THIS), in which case I'd maybe appreciate it a little bit if she'd stop being so, "Oh, gosh, isn't it cute I'm from Alaska?" and call herself a "soccer mom" like everybody else, OR she did know and she brought her poor kid down to share in the fun of sports fans acting like assholes.

Of course, the thing that doesn't amuse me is the comparison between Palin being booed by loudmouthed douchebags at a hockey game and Obama being called an uppity secret Muslim terrorist who needs killin' at political rallies. Look, as long as Palin gets off the ice within five minutes and doesn't get in the way of the Flyers getting anywhere near the playoffs, anything these people say about her is pretty much bullshit. Hockey fans -- and let's be honest, sports fans in general -- say some dumb crap, but there's a major difference -- sports fans have not spent the past eight years being given the impression that it's arguably acceptable to kill hockey moms.

Look, here's the thing. I've been thinking about all of those videos the past few days. You know the ones. The ones of people at McCain/Palin rallies saying things that are at times ignorant, bigoted, hateful, or just plain wrong, usually that somehow in the middle of a political election one of the two candidates has magically managed to hide the fact that he's secretly a pink radioactive glitter-sprinkled Pop-Tart, which is no more ridiculous than most of the things they're accusing him of, but much more amusing to read.

I'll fully admit I can't watch the videos. I just ... you know my embarrassment squick? It ratchets up to a million just thinking about those videos. I'm embarrassed to be on the planet with people that stupid. I can't imagine what it must be like to share the same political party with those assholes.

Bush's approval ratings are in the basement and digging for China. The approval for the Iraq War isn't much better. The problem is that those approval ratings are approval ratings. There are people who think Bush is doing a fantastic job, and that the war is protecting us from ... something, and that we need to kill as many Muslims as possible. They're usually the ones who say, "Remember 9/11!" in a tone implying that any of us are going to easily forget every single second of that fucking horrible day. But see, we must have forgotten, because so many of us have real problems with what goes on at Guantanamo, because we don't think Bush is some kind of hero for keeping another 9/11 from happening on his watch since the first 9/11 happened on his watch, because so many of us can manage to separate the smiling Muslim family leaving that mosque down the street from Osama bin Ladin.

These people don't make up the entirety of the McCain/Palin voting block. I think we all know that. Most of the people who are voting for McCain are not, in fact, fucking nuts. They don't like Obama, they don't think he has enough experience, they don't like his economic plan or his social policies. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Where it tilts over into wrongness is when the first guy yells "Terrorist!" or "Kill him!" and nobody does anything. So the next guy feels comfortable doing it (because hey, nothing happened to the last guy), and the next guy, and that woman over there, and that little old lady in the corner, and by the time McCain gets around to saying, "Uh, guys, you know Barack Obama's not going to stomp on babies and build bombs in a basement somewhere with Bill Ayers if he gets elected president, right?", he's being drowned out by the people who've been yelling, "Terrorist!", because they've learned over the past days and weeks thanks to nobody standing up to them that regardless of whether or not McCain's their candidate, they're still the majority in the room. (I think this does say something frightening about McCain's ability to lead or lack thereof when he can't even get his own voters to listen and be reasonable.)

I just keep thinking of that one post on Daily Kos (I believe) of the person who decided to go to the McCain/Palin rally and experience it for themselves as opposed to hearing about it from others, and the man they mentioned who was being very quiet and uncomfortable while everyone around him was grumbling things about Obama secretly being an overgrown sugar-addicted underpants gnome. I keep thinking about that guy, tired and awkward in a crowd full of people talking about horrible things that should happen to Obama, a guy who basically said something to the blogger about having to put up with this crap to get the guy he likes elected.

And I keep thinking, That's the kind of reasonable voter McCain's going to end up losing.

I don't know if McCain stirred up this shit on purpose. I don't want to think so, but the thought that he could stir it up intentionally scares the hell out of me so I think I may be avoiding it because it creeps me the hell out. The thought that he could have stirred it up accidentally scares me even worse, because that's nowhere near the sign of a good leader. I can't even think about possibly having a president who might see hate crimes on the rise and think, "Did I do that?"

It sort of leads back to the Ayers connection. The McCain/Palin camp is perfectly within their rights to have problems with it. Of course, Obama serving on a charitable board with Ayers for a while doesn't make him a terrorist anymore than Palin's connection to the Alaskan Independence Party makes her Stonewall Jackson. The problem is that there is a large noticable chunk of that voting block that is vehemently opposed to Obama because he's black. Because he's got a "foreign" name which is a lot like a deposed dictator and a terrorist still at large (because his mom was supposed to be psychic and know better, I guess). Because he's Muslim (regardless of the Rev. Wright flap, which seems to be conveniently forgotten when Obama needs to be a secret disco-dancing juggler in a raccoon costume) and since all Muslims are terrorists, he must be one too.

Tell some people that he worked with Ayers on a charitable board and they simply disapprove. Tell others and their suspicions are confirmed.

See? We told you he was a terrorist. And you know what we do with terrorists ...

These are the people whose paranoia is being fed by this sort of accusation -- not that guy who stood in the middle of that McCain/Palin rally and suffered in silence as he squirmed at the things being said, but the guy next to him whose opinion was firmly cemented when that uppity socialist (n-word) said people in small towns cling to religion and guns and it hit a little too close to home.

Not all Republicans are like this. Hell, the majority aren't. The problem is that the douchebags are the ones who will not shut up. And the louder they get, the more that woman who is generally nice but got an email from her friend that said Obama is hiding the fact that he's a Muslim (which might be a little easier to hide with a name change, I'd think) thinks it's okay to shout, "Terrorist!" at a rally. And the more that guy next to her who's usually not very outspoken or hateful at all but lost a brother on in Iraq feels justified yelling, "Arab!" as if it's an insult or a bad thing. And in a room with that sort of energy, it would be.

I just ... *sigh* I want this election to be over so badly. I do, because I've gotten to the point where I'm not only afraid for Obama, I'm afraid for McCain. Whether or not McCain was doing it earnestly or to look like the good cop to the media, he's the one who's put himself out there and say, "Hey, let's tone down this behavior, huh?" But he's not the popular one on the ticket -- Palin is. And Palin's playing along with the energy. She's not telling them to stop. She's pretty and popular and encouraging them and they love it. And I'm really starting to wonder that if McCain gets elected, someone out there isn't going to be patient enough to wait and see if McCain will drop dead anytime soon -- they'll make sure it happens.

And then we get President Palin, who seems to have no problem with stirring up shit. On the downside, it's going to suck to be anybody who's not a rich white guy. On the upside, Tina Fey could have a new hit sitcom on her hands.

Date: 2008-10-12 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angry-geologist.livejournal.com
I really hope Obama wins the election, if for nothing else that we finally get to send these douchebags to the ash heap of history for good.

Date: 2008-10-12 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beautifulstars.livejournal.com
I think the problem with Palin stepping into the ring is this: the election was pretty important before this. The whole world is watching. I know this because my British schoolkids are talking about it during English class. But now, it seems, the way that McCain/Palin are handling themselves has degraded the reaction of the general public here into peeking through their eyes and saying 'Ohmygod, look at how those conservative Americans handle themselves, have you ever seen anything so....?' Before this, it was important. Since McCain/Palin have chosen this tack, it's just been...childish. And horrid.

Date: 2008-10-12 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wrenlet.livejournal.com
In a way, I think McCain is inheriting a whirlwind mostly-but-not-ENTIRELY of his sowing... because let's face it, McCain might view Obama as "a respectable person I disagree with," but the people who run major Republican campaigns have spent the last several decades painting their opposition as evil, babykilling, socialist, terrorist-loving Destroyers of All That Is Good in the World.

If McCain could see past his own ambition for the White House, he would have known that hiring the architects of Bush's re-election would lead to exactly these tactics. But he either convinced himself that his campaign would somehow be "different," or he decided he doesn't care as long as he gets his promotion. But the groundwork for this kind of hate-based incitement to violence was laid many, many years ago, and the Roves of the world have just been tending that ground ever since.

Date: 2008-10-12 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lembeau.livejournal.com
And I'm really starting to wonder that if McCain gets elected, someone out there isn't going to be patient enough to wait and see if McCain will drop dead anytime soon -- they'll make sure it happens.

Did you see the Daily Show a couple of nights ago? They'd sent Jason Jones up to Alaska during the VP debate and someone said something similar, that they hope they don't have to wait too long for him to die, if I remember correctly. I'd watched most of that segment from under my pillow, I was scared.

I agree with everything you said in here. And thank you for pointing out the whole "He's a secret Muslim who spent 20 years at the base of Rev. Wright's pulpit".

Date: 2008-10-12 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lavenderfrost.livejournal.com
I don't want to think so, but the thought that he could stir it up intentionally scares the hell out of me so I think I may be avoiding it because it creeps me the hell out.

Well, to be fair - Obama's following is large and devoted enough that he could easily stir it up, too. The main difference is that he WON'T. Obama doesn't have to play the division card to win and I dare say he'd rather lose anyway if it came to that.

Date: 2008-10-12 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] telaryn.livejournal.com
Not all Republicans are like this. Hell, the majority aren't. The problem is that the douchebags are the ones who will not shut up.

Thank you for saying this, because it *has* been disheartening being one of the (I hope) reasonable Republicans. Palin scares the holy crap out of me, and I can't get behind Obama for a bunch of what (to me) are perfectly sensible objections. (YMMV, of course)

We've been trying to take our party back for a while now - believe it or not, McCain *was* the attempt to show party big wigs that the evangelicals weren't the force they assumed. I know several Republicans who weren't fired up about him who voted for him based on some variation of the "Rush Limbaugh said if McCain is nominated it will destroy the Republican party" factor.

And then he nominates Palin. Who already has people praying for McCain to win and then God to strike him down so their chosen can gain the White House.

Meantime I am continuously surrounded by people I respect harping on the "evil" Republicans who only care about big business and taking everybody's rights away, and that's not me. Nor is it most of the Republicans I know.

We're the party of less government waste. We're the party of making better opportunities for people to take charge of their own lives. We're the party of assuming Americans are grown-ups capable of taking responsibility for their lives and their choices without hurting anybody in the process.

We're the party that says "okay, you may have to work a little harder to get what you want, but we'll have the party hats and streamers waiting for you when you figure it out because we know you will.

And if you have any questions or really need help, we can give you that too.

We're *that* Republican party.

Or at least we're supposed to be.

And see...here's my problem. I know we're *not* that, but the only way I (and others) have a chance of stopping the Karl Rove, evangelical hijacking of our party is if we maintain our registrations and change it from within the ranks.

We're trying. We really are, and there really are more of us every election cycle.

We're just clearly not there yet.

Date: 2008-10-13 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lavenderfrost.livejournal.com
I'm so sorry you've had your Trojan Horse Candidate turned back on you.

Not being sarcastic - I really am sorry. I supported the Democrats, but I know McCain's nomination pleased me somewhat at first because I knew of his reputation as an atypical Republican. I figured if Obama lost, I could live with McCain b/c he was supposed to represent the slow change of the Republican party to make them a little more in tune with the OTHER half of the country. Looks like that's down the drain.

Date: 2008-10-13 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] telaryn.livejournal.com
Thank you. :) I appreciate you saying that.

You want to know what gets me even more? I've been hearing from fairly reliable sources that he was *planning* on selecting either Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman before this whole Palin thing happened.

I know a lot of Democrats have issues with Lieberman, but from where I sit? Nothing better to drive home the point than to have the non-evangelical Republican candidate go forward with a former Democrat turned (technical) Independent.

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