I am super proud of John McCain tamping down the more hysterical statements of those at his rallies.
It reminds me of the McCain that I have sometimes admired—such as the one who, during the primaries, said (against Mitt Romney) that the United States must not condone or engage in torture.
But let’s just hope that this rebuke of the crazy elements within his party isn’t a “one off” occurrence—and that McCain does this EVERY TIME a person at one of his rallies talks about Obama in racist, paranoid, or hysterical terms.
I truly believe that if McCain does not continue to do as he (nobly) did today, that the hysteria on the Manichean right could rise to such a pitch that unstable people might be aroused to try to injure or kill Obama.
It would be a tragedy of historic import if the first African American man to rise to the presidency—or who was on the verge of winning the presidency—was gunned down in an atmosphere of right wing apocalyptic cultural frenzy and resentment.
Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and the whole Fox News crowd need to follow McCain, and put their country first, and bring the rhetoric to a civil level surrounding this election.
I see in the energies of some of McCain’s crowd members a resonance with Nathaniel Hawthorn’s 1835 short story, “Young Goodman Brown.” When I hear one of McCain’s supporters speaking of Obama as a secret terrorist I say to myself, “There goes a Goodman Brown.”
Goodman Brown saw devils everywhere—and Hawthorn’s story tracks, in fine detail, the Puritan psyche. It’s informative of the kinds of psychological fires that McCain and Palin have been toying with in their ads and rallies.
I talk about “Young Goodman Brown” in relation to this election more here.