John McCain and Sarah Palin have stopped talking about the issues, and have instead launched a strategy relying on fear-mongering, racial divisions, and hate. The result is McCain/Palin supporters at rallies saying "kill him!" "terrorist!" "traitor," and more, with the McCain campaign playing dumb in response. It's outrageous and it must stop.
Together, we can show that Americans of all races won't stand for this.
Sign our open-letter calling out McCain and Palin. We'll publish it this week, and as we've shown in the past, when enough of us stand together, we can force the mainstream media to amplify our message. Click below to watch a video from Brave New Films showing the atmosphere at McCain rallies, sign on to our open letter, and ask your friends and family to do the same:
McCain-Palin rallies have started to look more like mob scenes than political events. The candidates keep asking "who is the real Barack Obama?" (a question that also kicks off almost every McCain television ad). In response, supporters have yelled "terrorist!" and "traitor!" And the venom goes beyond Obama--one McCain/Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at a Black member of a news crew, saying "sit down, boy."
The outbursts at McCain/Palin events have crossed the line into direct threats and suggestions of violence. Last week, at the mention of Obama's name, a McCain supporter yelled "kill him!"--prompting a secret service investigation. A few days later, someone shouted "off with his head!"
In the face of all of this, McCain and Palin haven't stopped for five seconds to denounce these violent outbursts. In fact they've tried to defend them [10,11]--and their fear-mongering smear tactics continue.
McCain and Palin are going down a dangerous path. Watching some of their supporters being interviewed shows the kind of fear their campaign is stoking and exploiting.[12,13] McCain and Palin are clearly in the driver's seat. They've personally made it a point to use "terrorist" and "Obama" in the same sentence; their surrogates have repeatedly referred to Obama by his middle-name;[14,15] and they keep pushing the discredited guilt-by-association smears that have long been debunked.
All of it plays on the much more sinister rumors in anonymous smear emails that claim Obama is Muslim, anti-American, and is somehow connected with terrorists. The strategy works and is powerful because it plays into the suspicions some White Americans have about Blacks: about our true allegiances and our trustworthiness. In the end, it makes Obama's race a disadvantage without appearing overtly racist.
A unified response
As Americans of all stripes, we've seen how Barack Obama's historic candidacy has moved our friends and family to have a more honest conversation about race in this country. It's inspired a lot of people to step out of their comfort zone and confront racism in their own communities, with their friends, neighbors, and families.
Now we have McCain, at a time of crisis in this country, pandering to one of the worst instincts in America. His campaign is playing to the kind of suspicion, hatred and fear that brings out the worst in us all, which history shows can lead to horrible consequences.
We can fight back
In the final days of this campaign, we can't let a desperate John McCain and Sarah Palin drag us down. If enough of us act, we can create a powerful story in the media about Black people and our allies of all races standing together against race-baiting and fear-mongering coming from the McCain/Palin campaign. But it will take a lot of us speaking in unison.
Will you sign an open letter to McCain and Palin, telling them who you are and why you won't let them move our country backward? We'll publish the letter and make sure John McCain is forced to respond.
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, Andre, Kai, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org PAC team
October 14th, 2008
1. "Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame," Washington Post, 10/07/08
2. "Obama called a terrorist" (video)
3. "McCain Supporter Yells Out 'Traitor!'" (video)
4. "McCain camp defends the behavior?," First Read, 10/10/08
5. "TV Ad: Dangerous", John McCain campaign, 10/06/08
6. See reference 1.
7. See reference 1.
8. "'Kill Him' Yell At Clearwater Palin Rally Being Probed," Tampa Bay Online, 10/10/08
9. "McCain's 'Fellow Prisoners'," First Read, 10/08/08
10. See reference 4.
11. "John Lewis vs. John McCain," First Read, 10/11/08
12. "The Sidewalk to Nowhere, McCain Supporters in Bethlehem, PA" (video)
13. "The McCain-Palin Mob" (video)
14. "Florida Sheriff Intros Palin, Says 'Barack Hussein Obama'," (video)
15. "McCain and Palin in Bethlehem: A live report!" Philly.com, 10/08/08
16. "Who is Barack Obama?" Snopes.com, January 2008