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October 13, 2008


The McCain campaign is getting more and more desperate with each new poll. In a frenzied attempt to regain lost ground, they've unleashed their designated pit bull, Sarah Palin, and the rhetoric she's using has taken a seriously dangerous turn.

At rally after rally Palin continues to use inflammatory, hate-based catch phrases whenever she refers to Barack Obama.

The throngs of supporters that surround both McCain and Palin are, at best, beginning to sound like ancient howling mobs at a beheading. At worst, they're starting to echo the fevered pitch of Klu Klux Klan and white supremacists rallies.

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Frank Rich said saturday, "At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms."

I remember having a conversation with a friend last January about how impressed I was with Barack Obama and that I thought he could have a real shot at becoming the first black President. His first response was that if he does win the nomination, he won't live long enough to become President. Unfortunately, I knew instantly what he meant. As much as most of us, including my friend, didn't want that to be the case, we knew that it was a very real possibility.

We weren't alone in that mindset. Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, consulted with Congress and then gave Obama a Secret Service detail earlier than any presidential candidate in our history. The detail was assigned in May 2007, eight months before the first Democratic primaries.

At the end of his op-ed piece, Frank Rich also said, "We’re not at Election Day yet, and if voters are to have their final say, both America and Obama have to get there safely.The McCain campaign has crossed the line between tough negative campaigning and inciting vigilantism, and each day the mob howls louder. The onus is on the man who says he puts his country first to call off the dogs, pit bulls and otherwise."

If anything does happen to Obama between now and November 4th, John McCain and Sarah Palin would have to shoulder the bulk of responsibility for it. And, in my opinion, they should both be held legally accountable for their actions. One of the few accepted exceptions to freedom of speech is the parable about yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre when none exists.