Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pensacola Bridge to Nowhere But Hate

It's something of a local tradition that the 17th avenue train trestle near the shore of Pensacola Bay is available for spray-paint graffiti. Years ago after it proved counter-productive to police the bridge, city and train officials gave up and declared the bridge a brain-free zone. Now, they obligingly white wash it every so often to make room for the new.

We assume it's mostly bored kids and borderline delinquents who avail themselves of the concrete canvass late at night. Normally, the graffiti one sees there doesn't rise much above the "Bubba Loves Barbi" variety; and it sinks only so low as to make it clear that Pensacola isn't likely to be sending any locally educated children to the National Spelling Bee contest, much less the Banksy School of Fine Art.

Until yesterday. Today's Pensacola News Journal:
The words "MURDER OBAMA" sprayed on the CSX train trestle on 17th Avenue in Pensacola were painted over Monday evening, said Tommy McCorvey, a CSX train master.
The Independent News has the photo.

What can one say? It's no accident that expressions of violence like this are occurring all across the country in support of the Republican ticket -- at McCain rallies, on cable television, and in the intellectual dark of talk radio. As Russell Goldman reported several weeks ago for ABC News, the McCain campaign has devised a deliberate plan "to spend these final weeks of the election going negative." The plan is inspiring all manner of violent outbursts by the unhinged "base" of the Republican party.

McCain and Palin don't expressly condone violence but their desperately inflamed rhetoric, scary telemarketing calls, despicable robo-calls, and absurd, extremist name-calling has created an atmosphere in which violence and threats of violence against the Democratic ticket and, weirdly, the media are becoming more and more common. It's getting worse by the day, as Eric Ose detailed a week ago (with video footnotes) for Huffington Post.

As Paul Buchanan writes:
The rage at McCain/Palin rallies is palpable. In contrast to the giddy (delusional?) displays at the GOP convention, they have become anger fests punctuated by boos and jeers as the specter of nuclear attacks, communism, terrorism and the loss of Christian values under an Obama-led democratic administration are invoked as reasons to vote Republican. The prospect of national collapse is held to be imminent otherwise.
* * *
[W]hat the Republican campaign managers and their media surrogates are doing is something much more dangerous than trying to win an election. Elementary discursive analysis reveals the not-to-subtle cues to direct action embedded in the Republican campaign rhetoric. Put bluntly: by demonizing Barack Obama, it is a subliminal invitation to murder.
The same day Buchanan was penning that last word, someone in Pensacola was spray-painting the same word on the 17th street bridge. While it is highly doubtful the spray-painter reads what anyone else has to say, it's clear that the lizard brains are getting the message: be afraid, hate, and do something about it.

McCain and Palin have thrown away their moral compass. They claim to put "America first" even as they attempt to redefine America by dividing it into 'real' and 'the other' America.

As U.S. News & World Report editor John Farrell says, "There are a lot of reasons to vote Democratic in this election. The smug Republican lie that you're not a 'real American' if you do is one of the best."

1 comment:

BeachLover said...

Excellent post, and, sadly, too, too true. If, heaven forbid, the hate should escalate to violence against Obama, whether now or years from now, to our mind a good measure of the blame will remain squarely with McCain-Palin and their 2008 campaign of vitriolic divisiveness and incitement to near-mob mentality.