Sunday, October 5, 2008

In this time of deepest national crisis...

...McCain's campaign decides to go crazy negative. For the good of the country, of course.

Let's start with this attempt to smear Obama using guilt by association. Obama did work with William Ayers, though the very New York Times article Palin is bragging about having read discounts the extent of their association. That work entailed serving as a board member for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which helped create local school councils to give parents more influence over their kids' schools. Real sick, dangerous, revolutionary stuff, let me tell you.

William Ayers is

Let's turn now to Sarah Palin's own unsavory associations. Her husband, Todd, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party from 1995 to 2002 (at which point he went all wishy-washy, putting himself down as "undeclared"). The party (a subset of the Constitution Party, whom I find absolutely reprehensible), believes that Alaska is not legitimately a U.S. state*. They believe Alaska has full right of secession, along with the right to nullify any federal laws they don't like.

Sound familiar? The U.S. fought a civil war over those last two principles.

Of course, Todd Palin never killed anyone in pursuit of those principles. But, Obama didn't marry William Ayers and have five kids with him. I humbly suggest that Todd Palin's warped political principles have a stronger influence on his wife than Ayers' had on Obama.

Now on to Palin's other scandalous association:

In a televised interview last spring, Senator John McCain, Mr. Obama’s Republican rival, asked, “How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?”

Given the source of the question, the irony here is unbearable.

1) Did John McCain engage in bombings? Of course. He probably detonated more explosives in one bombing run than The Weathermen did in the entire history of their organization.

2) Could those bombings have killed innocent people? Of course.

But, McCain never went out and targeted civilians. But then, The Weathermen generally avoided civilian targets as well. So we're left with two major distinctions between Ayers and McCain: social approval, and funding. Ayers had neither, McCain had both.

Am I knocking McCain's military service, or military service in general? I suppose, though not as harshly as reader(s?) might suspect. The desire to protect your country from threats is honorable. I served in the Army, so I understand the emotion on a gut level. But I also see the pervasive U.S. military presence around the world as a destabilizing influence that makes it more difficult to achieve our objectives peacefully.

But that's a long, long tangent. The main point is, that desire to protect is honorable. But sometimes that desire to protect, or to right some grave injustice, simply doesn't have a socially approved vehicle to convey it. The early abolitionists sometimes resorted to violence and mayhem. Anti-abortion activists have killed doctors, the ELF has torched houses, and animal-rights activists have vandalized businesses, all in the name of that same desire to protect the innocent and stop atrocities.

Sometimes this emotion goes horribly wrong. Sometimes we disagree over whether it has gone wrong. Lefties see it subverted when someone joins the Marines to "fight the terrorists" and ends up invading a country where no terrorists reside, or when they kill human beings in defense of a fetus which has only the potential for humanity. Righties consider anti-war and pro-nature violence illegitimate in much the same way. But at least when we're being reasonable, we can accept that these ill actions flow from healthy motives.

That's what bugs me about the clip. Governor Palin seems to be trying to shove Ayers into a box marked "EVIL", then shoving Obama in the same box for having associated with him. I guess Obama should have cut all ties to Ayers, just like he ought to cut ties with Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Spain, and Finland until they become not-evil.**

This is unlike Joe Biden, who claimed in the debate that he made friends in the Senate by not questioning the motives of his opponents, Palin clearly has no compunctions about attacking the basic decency of her opponents, and her supporters (at least the ones at that rally) clearly love that fact.

The crowd is clearly acting on behalf of the same instinct, the desire to protect the U.S., the beacon of hope and democracy, from its' enemies. But in this case, those "enemies" are the New York Times, the Obama campaign, and -- let's face it -- the half of the country that doesn't ascribe to their worldview. After eight years of an incredibly divisive presidency that successfully pit us against each other, we should reject four more years of this sort of leadership.

Bah. Have a funny:

* This is based, if my understanding of their site is correct, on their assertion that the U.S. violated U.N. laws governing self-determination. Funny, this is the first time I've heard of such a group treating U.N. declarations as anything but toilet paper.

** Yeah, Finland. They know what they did.

No comments: