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Which America?

This guy and a friend he met online wanted to kill Barack Obama. They were going to wear white tophats and tails while doing it, and shoot from their car windows. They didn’t expect to succeed, but they were happy to die trying. Before that, they wanted to go to an African-American school, shoot 88 students and decapitate 14 more. Apparently, the numbers 88 and 14 have a special meaning in “white supremacist culture.” This kid is 20 and lives with his grandparents in a small town in Tennessee.

On the other hand, there is the superb speech Obama gave today in Canton, Ohio, summing up the major themes of his campaign one week before the election. He showed off his fiery populist side, which was was well received in this working-class state. I wouldn’t be surprised any more if he wins a landslide victory. My favorite line today was where he rejected John McCain’s attempts to paint him as a scary socialist.

    Now, I don’t believe that government can or should try to solve all our problems. I know you don’t either. But I do believe that government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves…. It should ensure a shot at success not only for those with money and power and influence, but for every single American who’s willing to work…. That’s how we’ve always grown the American economy, from the bottom up. John McCain calls this socialism. I call it opportunity, and there is nothing more American than that.

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This video is from CNN and was made available by Raw Story.

UPDATE: More scary McCain-Palin supporters. There must be about ten different videos like this now. This one was made yesterday in rural Pottsville, Pennsylvania. I’m still optimistic that Obama has most of America on his side, and that these people are angry and scared precisely because they are on the wrong side of history. But as Nordin points out in the comments, the problem will be how to deal with this anger after the election. These people believe that America is being stolen from them by a terrorist sympathizer whose mission in life is to destroy everything they love and believe in. The rage will only increase once Obama as president has to choose from a menu of unpopular options.


Comment from nordin
Time: October 28, 2008, 01:27

The worst has yet to come. When McCain and Palin start propagating racial slurs, they actually telling others to act. And there always ever ready ‘crazy’ people ready to be a martyr. This is my concerns on my earlier commentary.

It really doesn’t matter whether Obama win or otherwise, the seeds of hatred have been sowed again in the land of America.

The next President have to include this in their agenda of reforming America.

Comment from leblase
Time: October 28, 2008, 06:39

88 is the code name for Heil Hitler, 8 being the alphabetical number of the letter H.
The next week is driving the Secret Service crazy.

Concerning the supposed “socialism” lurking behind Obama’s program… I know the American people tend to confuse socialism with communism, but it is different ( dose makes the difference;-)
Right now, The Paulson plan adds socialism’s defects to capitalism’s: the taxpayers, through the government, give money to private banks so they can play their usual games that profit only to the wealthy institutions, without any control or penalties.

Comment from eatbees
Time: October 28, 2008, 14:49

Nordin, I know what you’re saying. When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, the next few years saw the tragedy in Waco, Texas where a government raid on religious extremists left 72 people dead including many children; the rise of white supremacist militias who believed that our goverment was controlled by the UN; a wave of firebombings of black churches; a similar wave of bombings at abortion clinics; and the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. In mainstream politics, 1994 was the year of the Angry White Man (it was described that way at the time) which swept the Republicans to power in Congress, and led to the right-wing dominance of our agenda for the last 15 years.

Obviously, those forces are still there, and Palin and McCain, with their coded language and their smears on the character and patriotism of their opponents, are walking around with a match in an ammunition depot. The anger and bitterness left over after the election will make it difficult for anyone to govern, but I take heart in two things. In the Clinton years it was bad for a while, but then we settled down for a decade of prosperity, innovation, and constructive engagement in the world that was unique in my lifetime. Also I think the ultra-right-wing fear of the Other is a dying attitude in America, for the simple reason that when it dominated our politics, it caused massive failures of both foreign and economic policy, so that even many people who supported it are ready for something new. That’s why anecdotal evidence suggests that even some people who use the word n***er are voting for Obama this year.

We live in interesting times.

Comment from eatbees
Time: October 28, 2008, 15:25

leblase, what’s ironic is that McCain’s attacks on socialism may be backfiring. Socialism used to scare people in America because in the 1970s, the middle class felt it was being taxed to give handouts to people who didn’t want to work, and the labor movement had become an obstacle to innovation in our industrial sector. But these days, when McCain attacks Obama for wanting to “spread the wealth around,” I can imagine that a lot of people are thinking that’s not such a bad thing.

Obama has pointed out repeatedly in recent weeks that the “trickle-down, on-your-own, look-the-other way crowd in Washington” with their “do-nothing approach to our economic problem” represent a failed philosophy. It’s not just a question of changing which party is in power; we need to restore the idea that government is there to protect the little guy. Reagan ran against “big government” and “tax-and-spend liberals” and so is McCain, but it isn’t working this year. As Obama’s rhetoric in the closing weeks of the campaign shows, this year people want someone in Washington who will fight for the common interest.

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