The Price of HATE as a Political Strategy

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This is an image from a political advertisement that was circulated in Dallas — the day before John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The image is from the national archives. It is a chilling reminder of the power of hate-filled rhetoric.

This image should be a wake up call for all of us, and especially the McCain-Palin ticket, who’s supporters have been chanting that Obama is a traitor, a terrorist, a socialist, and a muslim. None of this is true. It has been caught on camera: McCain-Palin supporters yelling “kill him!” and “off with his head” when Obama’s name is mentioned. Sarah Palin seems happy to encourage these hate-filled statements, claiming that “Obama doesn’t see America the way you and I do” and that he is somehow not like ‘us.’ Who is US, anyway? On most issues, McCain and Obama have similar views.

John McCain is showing the good sense to pull back from some of this rhetoric, but it seems almost too late. On Friday, McCain was booed by his own supporters when he described his opponent as a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.”

Whether it is intentional or not, McCain and Palin are inciting violent behavior and fear, especially in the extreme fringes of the right wing. If Palin and McCain want to save their campaign, they need to go back to the issues – the economy, the war, entitlements, health care – and if they can’t win based on this, then call it a day. All of the Presidential and VP candidates have skeletons in their closets, but this is minor compared to the issues. McCain still has an honorable past, a good record of service, and is a great candidate. He should be able to stick to the high road and still be able to compete with Obama.

Our country has a tragic history of violence, especially in terms of race. Palin and McCain need to take the high road, and stop encouraging hate in a country with a tragic and torn history. If they don’t start dispelling fact from fiction and stop encouraging extremism, we could all pay a price.

To get more information about political smear tactics and to correct them, please visit

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