Voice of the People: The Audacity Of Character Assassination

by James J. Devine

Somebody sent me the link to a video that portrays Sen. Barack Hussein Obama in the most sinister light, using images and words to invoke fear and loathing because these emotions are more likely to stop a good man from becoming president than cool logic.

After all, fear and hate are deeply rooted feelings that have compelled men to do far worse than elect the lesser of two candidates.

There is nothing scary about any of this, except that it is the kind of thing that can be used to manipulate otherwise good and intelligent voters. These propaganda techniques can be effective even when exposed for what they are.

I could create something just as sinister and scary about John McCain, who spent five years as a POW in Vietnam being indoctrinated by communist jailers, but it is an intellectually dishonest approach to politics.

People who bought to Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry might be described as idiots, but in fact they were normal people manipulated by dishonest politicians. In the days when Carteret veterans were burning me in effigy, they used similar tactics to describe the newspaper as Atom Bin Tabloid — and anyone could be subjected to the same thing.

Christians whose religion condones slavery, bakers who provide children with high calorie food products, grounds keepers who spray deadly poison into our environment; anyone can be called evil in a way that sounds realistic.

Sen. Obama’s life experiences are far different than any person who has occupied the White House, but his is an American experience. This nation has a history that includes many great things, some good and some terrible. From landing on the moon to slaughtering the native population and from installing dictators in other countries to stopping the Nazis in World War II, America has used its power for good and ill alike.

This nation exists not in the past but in the present; and we can effectuate change that makes our future better or we can live in fear of living up to the credo that all men are created equal.

We can be brave enough to try to be better or we can cower in the comfort of that which we already know is wrong. The choice is ours, but the consequences of our decisions will be lived by our children. For the sake of my children, I am prepared to hope.

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