How to wreck the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama is preoccupying a small cadre of political operatives. You may never see them or know how much they were paid. In time, it may become clear where the money comes from: the Scaife Foundation or some functional equivalent funded by oil money or coal or sugar.
So here is the deal: in the last presidential election it was the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. This time, it will be race.
It will happen, as it has in the past, starting like a “grass roots” campaign at first, like photos circulating on the Internet of Obama’s family in Kenya. Grinning, coal dark black people.
In time, it will catch fire with the right-wing conservative spin machine, although I doubt you will see Fox News commentators quite such rabid dogs given Rupert Murdoch’s change of heart since the two terms of President Bush.
The strategy is simple. They will try to turn the entire nation into those West Virginia voters caught on network news after the results of the Democratic primary, along the lines: “I’ve had it with Husseins.”
It happened to the Jews, branded as the Other over centuries in old Europe, leading up to Hitler. There is no shortage of examples, what happened next.
You don’t need a code to decipher the meaning of Obama’s photos on the Internet. They insinuate: Obama’s family values don’t resemble yours or mine.
The truth is, I couldn’t begin to tell you the stories of those generations beyond one or two, of any of the men who have served the United States as President. And if you look at your own family as I do of mine; we are part of humanity stretching back a hundred thousand generations, not two or three or thirty.
I love America for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that historic hatreds stretching across time have no place here. Barack Obama won the privilege of representing the Democratic Party in the presidential election for his character, his vision, and not the color of his skin.
If our current economic difficulties—deeper than any time since the Great Depression—tell us anything it is this: we need the courage to reject hate. Period.
Democrats who supported Hillary made the point another way: wouldn’t you rather a candidate who has survived the right-wing hate machine, and a woman too, not a junior senator who hasn’t been vetted by the process?
Barack Obama will do his part—talking to the American people about his values, his character and, should he be elected, policies that will profoundly impact the entire world.
But as Americans, we have to do our part: reject the hatred and the fear and anyone who would exploit us, from whatever corner of the political spectrum.