Wednesday, October 15, 2008


There are a lot of McCain supporters who are very pleased with his choice of Sarah Palin as his choice for running mate. I'm not one of them. There's no doubt her and her family are very attractive and appeal to the sentimentality of a Norman Rockwell portrait. In her speech at the Republican convention, she gave the following quote:

"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity," the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous "writer

It seems innocuous enough. It praises those hard-working individuals who come from small towns across America. And yet there is a very big problem with it. The writer is hardly anonymous. The quote was penned by Westbrook Pegler. Pegler supported Joseph McCarthy. He also stated that during an assassination attempt on President Franklin Roosevelt, the wrong man was killed. Some of his words were very anti-Semitic and included such gems as Jews are "goose steppers".

In one of his columns, he was okay with the idea of lynch mobs taking the law into their own hands. Some of his attacks on liberalism read like a text book for those who rant about liberalism today. He also saw Communists behind every tree and I suppose that is one reason he could support McCarthy.

It's more than likely Palin didn't write the speech she gave at the Republican convention. It does, however, speak volumes about those McCain surrounds himself with. And it speaks volumes for those who attempt to label Obama as a Socialist. If Obama is a Socialist, than so is McCain.

I've wondered in the past why so many Mid West states such as Iowa have increasingly voted Democrat. After all, with all the praise Republicans give to small town America, it would seem that those in the small towns in Iowa, Kansas, and other farming states would flock to the party who says they have the best interests at heart. I must admit, I've been too lazy until this election to even pursue the issue.

Why are so many small towns across the US almost ghost towns? Why are so many farmers forced to sell-out to big conglomerates? Was it caused by those so-called social elites from the Democratic party? No, it resulted from the policies of the Republicans.

No. For decades now we have been electing people like Sarah Palin who claimed to love and respect the folksy conservatism of small towns, and yet who have unfailingly enacted laws to aid the small town's mortal enemies.

Without raising an antitrust finger they have permitted fantastic concentration in the various industries that buy the farmer's crops. They have undone the New Deal system of agricultural price supports in favor of schemes called "Freedom to Farm" and loan deficiency payments -- each reform apparently designed to secure just one thing out of small town America: cheap commodities for the big food processors. Richard Nixon's Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz put the conservative attitude toward small farmers most bluntly back in the 1970s when he warned, "Get big or get out."

Republicans have been using the politics of fear for many years. There has been the fear of Communists, the fear of drugs, and now, the fear of Socialism. The Republicans bemoan so-called East and West Coast elites. In years past, it used to be a badge of honor for someone from a small town to make it to colleges such as Harvard and succeed. Now those graduates are labeled as elites. It's almost like having an education is as bad as being a drug pusher.

The specifics have changed in our new century, but the vitriolic animus of right-wing populism preached by Pegler and McCarthy and revived by the 1990s culture wars remains the same. The game is always to pit the good, patriotic real Americans against those subversive, probably gay “cosmopolitan” urbanites (as the sometime cross-dresser Rudy Giuliani has it) who threaten to take away everything that small-town folk hold dear.

Th rhetoric coming from Palin and others like her is divisive and plays into the fears of many. It demonizes those Americans who live in New York, Chicago, Los Angelos and other urban areas. New York is our largest city and it suffered one of the must brutal terrorist attack on 9-11. After 9-11, our country was united all too briefly. Were those who were murdered that horrible day elitists? Labels were put aside as those from small towns and large cities joined in grieving the loss of so many precious lives.

The people in New York work as hard as those in Des Moines. The stock market trader's job is as vital to this country as the farmer's.

Instead of uniting people and seeing across the differences, Palin and others like her divide our country. Those who support abortion, gay marriages, and are against the death penalty are not seeking to destroy the fabric of American society. They seek to live up to the values inherent in the US Constitution. All men are created equal.

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