I've come to one conclusion about Sarah Palin: She's a great agitator and manipulator.
I don't know if she truly believes a thing she says, but she can make other people believe her. She insinuates well. She gives hints to her base about how they should act. She empowers them, gives them the freedom to publicly act in ways they wouldn't condone from any other group.
Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."This should scare you. But it gets worse:
The reception had been better in Clearwater, where Palin, speaking to a sea of "Palin Power" and "Sarahcuda" T-shirts, tried to link Obama to the 1960s Weather Underground. "One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," she said. ("Boooo!" said the crowd.) "And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,' " she continued. ("Boooo!" the crowd repeated.)
"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.Scared now?
Palin is telling her base that it's okay to express their inner racist child, to scream racial insults, to threaten death to African-Americans. Not a problem for her or John McCain, so long as it puts them in the White House.
What can we do about this? How can we react without acting like them?
One way - give Obama your time and your money. It's easy to donate; I've done it several times. Or volunteer if there is an active group in your area. If you can't volunteer, put a sign in your yard. It may not seem like much, but in this kind atmosphere its a symbol of your desire for change. It's even, depending on where you live, an act of courage.
And write your local paper. Again it may not seem like much, but most papers are actually starved for decent letters to publish these days. Some take emails, but many still don't and their In-Boxes are pretty empty. Give them your opinion, tell them why you support Obama, why we need to fight for the future.
Most importantly, really talk to people. Be the Anti-Palin. I know I mock a lot here, but that's not how I talk one-on-one with people. This is public play and political theatre, not interpersonal communication. Use your innate common sense and sense of decency to explain why you are voting for Obama and what an Obama presidency means to you. It's that simple.
I gotta go now. I think my lawn sign needs straightening.
Update: Paranoid validation. At least I'm not the only one using the eyes in the back of my head.
Update (x2): More about the violent rhetoric and fear mongering of the McCain-Palin campaign. With links to further stories.
Now playing: The Chemistry Set - The Dreams That I Saw Yesterday