When is enough enough? It seems this election cycle is the new shock jock entertainment, if that’s what floats your boat. The Cultural War seems to be escalating.

According to CNN, Senator John McCain has called on Senator Obama to ‘immediately and personally repudiate’ remarks made by Rep John Lewis, D-Georgia.

Rep John Lewis issued a statement after several days of what he perceived as attention-grabbing attacks on Barack Obama during McCain/Palin campaign rallies:

“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…

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.”

Senator McCain, who has previously sung the praises of Rep. Lewis, responded with:

“Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Gov. Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale,…

The notion that legitimate criticism of Sen. Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Gov. George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I’ve always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track…

I call on Sen. Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America.”

Good grief! This rancor and contentiousness is just getting out of hand. I do hope everyone remembers the sad fate of Governor George Wallace. He ran for president as a third party candidate and was shot down in an assassination attempt during a campaign rally in Laurel, Maryland in 1972. Wallace was permanently paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. Evil and careless words lead to evil deeds.

Oddly enough, Wallace had become a born-again Christian and had apologized for his segregationist vitriol of earlier years.

16 thoughts on “McCain calls comments by Georgia Democrat ‘shocking’

  1. IVAN

    On face, Rep. Lewis’ remarks appear a bit over the top. However, George Wallace was plying his hateful trade over 30 years ago. How far have we come as a people in that time? I remember seeing Wallace rallies on TV, and remember some of the people attending. They don’t look or sound that much different from what I have seen at Palin events. I don’t think Rep. Lewis did Obama any favors with his comments, but perhaps this along with the backlash from the GOP negative adds will bring a little sanity to the remaining four weeks of the campaign.
    Desperate times call for desperate measures. McCain may well be so desperate that he feels that this is the only way to win. Win without honor seems to be his motto. This seems to be a familiar theme locally also. Anyone wandering over to the Dark Screen may have noted that on Oct.9 GL’s thread on illegals deciding the outcome of the election that he referred to an article in the Social Contract Press. This is the newsletter put out by FAIR. It’s publisher is John Tanton(founder of FAIR) and editor Wayne Lutton, well known supporter of “eugenics” and White supremecy. Apparently GL feels confortable in finally mentioning FAIR or one of its related enterprises publicly. Could it be that BVBL has lost so much of its clout politically that it is trying to appeal to the most radical of its base? Or is this just a last desperate effort to be relevant during this election cycle?

  2. NotGregLetiecq

    McCain understandably is sensitive to criticism in this area having had a few scrapes with racial slurs in the past. The comparison to Wallace’s rhetoric is unfortunately justified. But overstating the shock and outrage is a crafty move on McCain’s part.

    There is no more powerful force at McCain’s disposal than racial tension at this stage in the campaign. AND there is NO MORE powerful tactic for inciting racial tension than offering white conservatives the role of the victim.
    I’ll say that again.
    There is NO MORE powerful tactic for inciting racial tension than offering white conservatives an opportunity to play the victim.

    Remember O’Reilly’s “War On Christmas?” This fight McCain wants to pick with Congressman Lewis has more validity than the “War On Christmas” and there is more potential for a racial division jackpot.

    This could be bad for America, but good for McCain, if he really wants to win that badly.

  3. ShellyB

    In fairness to McCain, it’s Palin who seems to relish the racially tinged attacks. I’m willing to give McCain more leeway since he comes from another era when raciai division seemed natural and immutable. If there is anything inappropriate in his rhetoric, he seems more political than racist.

    Palin is another matter. She thrives on hate but she should know better than to use race for that purpose at her age. How many 44 year old racists do you know? I don’t know one. Not personally anyway.

  4. Moon-howler

    I don’t know that I have heard Palin or McCain make racist statements. I have heard Palin make those idiot terrorist comments. I think the point might have been that people will always find something to be divisive about, whether it is race, region, religion, or in this case, simply a culture divide that seems impossible to find common ground.

  5. NotGregLetiecq

    But M-H, that’s just it. What defines the Culture Divide if not an ability to accept and value, rather than fear and demonize people with different names, different skin colors, and different life stories?

    At a certain point, all these phobias are more than ignorance or provincialism. At a certain point it mutates into something actionable, hate, the mob mentality.

    In PWC, we know better than probably any modern day American community what happens when leaders and people with influence stoke fears and encourage hate among those who trust them. Notice how it is almost never done in this day and age UNLESS there is an election around the corner????

    Palin is approaching Gospel Greg territory and McCain is either going along with it or he is too weak to stop it.

    Like many of the well-meaning and intimidated souls in PWC, who may have known right from wrong a year ago, but did not stand up to the hatred that infected our local government, McCain and many other Republicans are putting their moral courage on hold until AFTER the election.

    This is very disappointing. Some things are more important than winning an election. If McCain doesn’t want Palin’s culture war, then he has to stand up to it, stop the ad buys, and the misleading scary rhetoric. In other words he should SHOW us the leadership he claims he possesses.

  6. SecondAlamo

    My God, is this all we’re going to hear for the next 4 years if Obama is elected? Race this and race that! We’ve come so so far in providing overwhelming opportunities and support for all minorities compared to the 60’s and yet you’d think we were back in the 60’s with the comments being made. You know as well as I do that any minority is now a sacred cow. The only ethnic group that you can make a negative comment about without either losing your job or being blasted is the single majority group that founded this country, whites. There are literally thousands of support groups and laws protecting the rights of minorities, and yet that still doesn’t seem to impress them, and so I would hope that having a minority president would finally silence this unfounded continuing cry of racism that’s constantly shoved in our faces whenever convenient.

  7. SecondAlamo

    Speaking of protecting the rights of minorities, or not wanting to bring up the issue of race, I received two Crime Alerts from the PWC Crime Prevention Unit. Many of you may have received them also. The reports gave every possible description of the persons we are to be on the lookout for except, you got it, RACE! Now I know that people are sensitive about bringing up the subject of race, except when it benefits them, but why on earth would you place people on the alert and not provide a valuable identifying characteristic as race? We’ve come this far that we would put people at risk just to avoid the possibility of being accused of ‘profiling’ or some other such race based accusation? This is what I mean when I say that minorities are now treated as sacred cows. God forbid we help apprehend criminals by mentioning their race!

  8. Censored bybvbl

    We’ve come so so far in providing overwhelming opportunities and support for all minorities compared to the 60’s and yet you’d think we were back in the 60’s with the comments being made.

    Well, to watch the recent youtube videos from Pennsylvania and Ohio you wouldn’t think we’ve come so far in this country. It looks like a display from Thugs R Us.

    Anyone catch the latest lunacy from Jeff Frederick? Do you think this guy will last out the year as Chair?
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/12/AR2008101201956.html?hpid=topnews

  9. DiversityGal

    Second Alamo,

    I think your posts are a perfect example of what NGL was talking about earlier in this thread, and what I discussed in a previous thread. In fact, a lot of us are afraid that your reaction will be shared by many Caucasians in this country. Even though the McCain-Palin campaign has encouraged this fearful climate up until now by asking “Who is Barack Obama?” suggesting that we don’t know enough about him, using the word “terrorist” repeatedly in association with his name, playing on some of the public’s fear of his name, heritage, and yes, even his skin color…Barack Obama has to largely overlook this. Lewis’s statement no doubt sparked a lot of reactions just like yours, Second Alamo, which is why Obama is likely never to get as publicly angry as he rightly could or should about the matter.

    Some might say, well Palin and McCain never said anything specifically about race or ethnicity. In the eyes of many, this will exonerate them. However, I do not think we should be naive about this. McCain, Palin, and their campaign advisors know the people of America. They know that racism and prejudice still exist, and you cannot tell me that the rallies are the first time they have ever heard such remarks made about Barack Obama. I do believe that they know how to play on the fears and the prejudice of some Americans for their political gain; perhaps they didn’t know this fear and prejudice would be displayed in their presence for all the world to see, however. Perhaps they were hoping it would remain quiet until voters were inside the booths.

    We have to make sure that as Caucasians, we do not have this knee-jerk reaction every time race is discussed. We can’t just hold our hands over our ears in tantrum-like fashion and pretend that it will go away. Race, ethnicity, and other differences are all real. It is not a crime to notice them, but it is wrong to dismiss them altogether, or to discriminate based on them.

    Prejudice and racism also exist. Yes, we have undoubtedly made a lot of progress, but the work is not done. That is hard for some to hear, but I believe it is true. Everybody has problems no matter where they are from, but this doesn’t erase the fact that racism and prejudice still exist, as exemplified by the crowds at the rallies and the number of people on the other blog who insist on referring to Barack Obama by his middle name…and that is just for starters.

  10. SecondAlamo

    DG,

    You are absolutely correct, racism and prejudice does exist although greatly diminished, and it exists in ALL RACES. I’m so tired of the terms ‘racism’ and ‘prejudice’ being code words for whites only in America. I can hire a minority and no one says a word, but if that individual isn’t performing their job and is terminated because of it, now suddenly it is a race based issue and you’ve got the ACLU and tons of others banging on your door. So you wonder why some may be hesitant to totally embrace other races, it’s because of having to walk on egg shells with every interaction. There will always be cultural differences between the races, and just because you may be a member of a minority doesn’t mean I can’t dislike a particular characteristic. Just look at the problems that occur within a race, so to believe there will come a day when there isn’t some friction is to be extremely optimistic. Look to Africa, after kicking out the white rule you’d think they solved their only problem, not hardly!

  11. Moon-howler

    Actually, I believe SA is correct in his last paragraph. I am very sick of people crying ‘racism’ at every turn. I feel that it is crying wolf and desensitizes us when real racism is glaring. Real racism does exist. It also exists in all races and white people are not impervious to being victims of it either.

    On the other hand, SA, I believe the topic post was timely and very much a part of the discussion in the media. Personally, I am much more offended at the terrorism comments than anything else.

    I believe that white/black racial issues will be a built in part of this election. Having a black man running for president is a first for our country and since we aren’t perfect, racism will rear its ugly head. How can it not be? But when the muslim card is continually played, we have to look beyond national growing pains and look at hate.

    I also read something last night by some fool now saying that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii and that he was really born in India. Some other fool contradicted him and said no, he was born in Kenya and that his paternal grandmother swore she was in the delivery room when he was born. Some of these ignoramouses are overlooking the obvious: He is an American citizen via his mother. Now this is truly grasping at straws.

  12. Robb Pearson

    Rep. John Lewis isn’t wrong when he says “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.” That he references events from the sixties is relevant to his worldview, considering he was there and fought virulent racial bigotry head-on. And won.

    We would all do well to at least respectfully consider the allusion Rep. Lewis proffers. Because remember that admonition that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. I think he’s just making sure we don’t forget, and hence do not repeat.

    McCain and Palin are appealing to fear in order to get the spotlight. They are not focusing on the things that are of life-impacting importance to Americans, like the economy, healthcare, etc. Another person’s skin color or racial/ethnic heritage is not life-impacting.

    All you have to do is witness the racially-charged and other vile comments coming from the throngs of ignorant McCain supporters as they walk into his rallies, and even comment at his rallies. Such as from the woman who said she can’t trust Obama because he’s “an Arab”. How despicable. How ignorant.

    That McCain and Palin are actively courting the ignorant speaks volumes.

  13. Elena

    The reality is that Pailin and McCain are getting exactl what they hoped for, stirring the anger to bring about a new momentum for their base. What is frightening, is that they truly did not think about the consequences of their actions. McCain being involved in the Keating five actually has some relevancy to his judegment and a prior economic crisis.

    Obama not realizing that a college professor had been a left wing nut back in the sixties has no real relevancy to the crisis facing Americans today. McCain is allowing his campaigne to appeal to the most base fear in people, fear of our differneces.

    When there is a eutopia world Second Alamo, then maybe race won’t matter, but as we have seen with immigration and with Barak Obama, race AND religion create the paradigm that many people still choose to judge others.

  14. Moon-howler

    Elena,

    Very true and there is no nice way to say this, Palin and McCain do know who some of their base. They are stirring them up. Back to the McCain and ‘Arab’ woman–one only has to notice him bobbing his head in agreement until the new A word came out of her mouth. Only then did he realize he was a deer in the headlights and had to respond as he did. And to his credit, he handled an awkward moment extremely well.

    If there was ever a time when the words, ‘Jane, you ignorant slut’ had to be swallowed, that must have been it.

    I seriously thought she was a plant based on the false premise that: No one 1. looks like that 2. Is that stupid.

    I have mixed feelings over the racism I have seen from both camps. It bothers me regardless of whom it is coming from. As much as I am appalled by some in the crowd at the McCain/Palin rallies, I am equally appalled by Rev. Wright’s words. No one owns racism, as has been shown. I think it is up to all of us to make it unacceptable, especially in a public forum, regardless of the intended victim.

  15. NotGregLetiecq

    Second Alamo, you’re whining about the pit falls of living in a modern, diverse community is precisely the whining that the McCain campaign was looking for when they made a big show of the Lewis observations. Congratulations on being predictable. You are just what they are counting on.

    Just remember, there are millians Caucasians in America who don’t struggle with the issue of diversity and the increasing degree to which racism is no longer acceptable in America. There are millions of Caucasians who aren’t hung up on these things, and don’t feel they have to prove they are not racist, and don’t feel blamed when someone who also happens to be Caucasian is criticized for being racist.

    There really is no reason for you to extend your over-sensitivity so broadly that you have this reaction every time the issue of race is discussed. Truly, you should deal with your own issues privately. And if you want to do something publicly, see what you can do to talk some snse into Jeff Frederick.

  16. ShellyB

    Second Alamo, the predictability of your reaction is a testament to NGL and DG’s deconstruction of the McCain culture war strategy.

    McCain’s complaint has triggered you to dredge up every complaint about race relations you have ever had, including job discrimination which has nothing to do with the issues of scapegoating and fear mongering. The culture war strategy is meant to change the subject to race, where people can be blinded by their baggage (yes people of all races). But there are more white people, let’s face it, so if this election is white vs. those who are “not like us,” there may be an advantage for those who define themselves as white.

    Second Alamo is an exacmple of how this can work. NGL and DG are examples of how it can backfire.

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