Monday, October 13, 2008

Civil Discourse

The presidential election this year seems to bring out a high level of feeling among voters. There is the whispered fear that if Obama loses, there will be riots. My whispered fear is if McCain loses, there will be riots.

The polarization is not just in the presidential race. The Mississippi special Senate race between Wicker and Musgrove has degenerated into a well of sewage from both candidates.

Republicans are mad because they feel Sarah Palin is unfairly attacked. Democrats, for years, have compared Bush to Hitler.

The scrutiny of Sarah Palin is called for. Let's face it, from the debate last week, McCain is a very old man. Time after time, we've seen how the presidential office wears people down. McCain's health is not very good. Palin must face scrutiny.

Instead of focusing on the boos Palin faced by a Philadelphia crowd and other non-issues, more focus needs to be made on not just Palin's political views. Just as more focus needs to be made on McCain's and Obama's platforms.

I've been rereading Leon Uris's A God in Ruins. It was written in 1999 and is about the 2008 presidential election. It is scary how much it parallels what is going on today. The very popular Democrat nominee has a huge lead against the incumbent Republican nominee. Both candidates are white but the Democratic nominee receives a life-changing revelation two weeks before the election. He was adopted and his half-brother finds him. He discovers he is Jewish. He shares his discovery.

Led by the Republican nominee, derogatory comments are made and the fires of hate are stoked. People begin rioting. Jewish homes and synagogues are attacked. The President does nothing. It takes ordinary citizens to stop the chaos and riots. They put their bodies in front of the rioters to protect their Jewish neighbors. The book speaks of the basic decency of ordinary American citizens.

There are a lot of angry, bigoted, and scared people in America today. The fear is running rampant. McCain has faced being booed by his supposed supporters because he states emphatically Obama is a decent family man. Not since John F. Kennedy's run for president has this much hysteria among voters been seen.

Whoever wins the presidential election, will the basic decency of Americans come through or will fear win out?

In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

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