John Lewis On McCain/Palin Rallies, Race and Violence

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

From Politico:

As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign.  What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history.  Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate.  George Wallace never threw a bomb.  He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights.  Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.

As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all.  They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy.  We can do better.  The American people deserve better.


The latest in unfortunate racism on display, this time at a Palin campaign stop today:

h/t NCDem Amy

The McCain camp responds:

“Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale,” McCain said. “The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign.”


McCain then goes on to demand an apology from Obama. Yes. I’m serious.


And here’s the Obama camp’s response:

“Senator Obama does not believe that John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.  But John Lewis was right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric that John McCain himself personally rebuked just last night, as well as the baseless and profoundly irresponsible charges from his own running mate that the Democratic nominee for President of the United States ‘pals around with terrorists.’ “

Meanwhile, last night on Rachel, Doris Kearns Goodwin compared McCain and Palin rallies to 1930’s Hitler events.

Yes. I’m serious.


Doris. Kearns. Goodwin. That nice little professor lady who writes about Lincoln and has that calm demeanor of someone who’d give you cookies and milk while explaining to you the in and outs of the controversy surrounding the wording of the 14th Amendment.

When Doris Kearns Goodwin starts comparing your campaign rallies to Hitler-style events, you haven’t just jumped the shark in the area of racism and politics. You’ve jumped the tank the shark is in. You’ve jumped the aquarium that houses the tank.

You’ve jumped the friggin’ city that sports the aquarium.



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  1. not Philidelphia, City of Brotherly Love.

    Palin got booed off the ice.  Tough for the kids, Piper and Willow I think.

  2. …that I hope folks watch and help make go viral. This is pretty cool:

  3. The racists and nuts he is appealing to will tear him apart when he loses.

  4. that anyone would dare call him out on what he’s been doing, and actually put a name to the ugliness that he’s been doing.  And then he has the nerve to act like he’s the one that’s been offended.  

    Much has been made of McCain’s “defending of Obama” in a Town Hall.  Frankly, IMHO, he didn’t have much choice: Over the last 48 hours several name brand Republicans have come out and either chided or denounced McCain’s borderline incitement:

    “…And given how taboo it is to level such criticism of your own nominee at this stage of the election you have to assume these criticisms were only the tip of the iceberg, with a far more intense and angry barrage of criticism voiced privately…”

    But McCain’s never been one to accept criticism, even well-deserved and cautionary criticism, graciously.

    McCain’s hubris is breathtaking and mindboggling.  Instead of being deeply shamed, as any truly “honorable” person would be to be publicly called out and told that his words could cause violent reaction–McCain reacts like all other self-involved bullies always do:  By going on the offensive.  

    There is an ugliness to the code words & fears stirred up by the McPalin campaign and an ugliness to their passive response to the hate-speech responses of their followers to those words.  They seem to be angry mainly because Lewis and others like Gergen, etc have brought it out of the shadows and shined the light of day on it.  They apparently believed that they could keep using code words & winks to the basest of the “base” and continue to keep the opposition and the media muzzled in calling them out for the malevolent, angry, destructive beings that they are.  

    FWIW, Josh Marshall has a video up of the McCain supporter’s comment that required McCain to defend Obama.  Of course, neutralizing that defense, McCain turns around and plays the “victim” when Lewis points out to McCain the possible consequences of encouraging such people.

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