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Presidential race was tainted by racism

By G. Michael Dobbs
Managing Editor

I was encouraged by the speech that Sen. John McCain made that graciously extended his congratulations and support to President-Elect Barack Obama. His words were the rights ones and said at the right time.
I was discouraged to hear people boo Obama's name at the McCain speech, though, as it indicates just how deep the division is between many of the people who voted for McCain not all of them, mind you and the citizens who voted for Obama.
What worries me is the fact those divisions don't seem to be based on ideology, but on hate and fear.
I was listening to Rush Limbaugh on and off right up to the election and on Oct. 31 he was still trying to smear Obama as some sort of unknown quantity by presenting an edited clip of Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw speaking about Obama. It was shameful manipulation by a man who is attempting to stay relevant.
After the election was final, Limbaugh made a statement to the effect that he could not accept the notion that he was not in the majority of Americans.
My heart bleeds for America's number one propagandist.
I've also been receiving e-mails from various conservative groups trying to explain why Obama won in terms other than more Americans believed he would make the better president.
Why are so many people unwilling to face the truth? McCain supported Bush policy. Bush policy has put this nation into debt, helped fuel our economic meltdown and brought us into a disastrous war costing the lives of 4,000 Americans and millions of Iraqis. McCain also chose a vice presidential candidate completely unsuitable for the job.
A majority of American voters rejected a candidate that they identified with a failed president and decided to roll the dice with someone new.
That's life in these United States.
The right wing radio talkers along with other McCain/Palin supporters seemed to be more willing to describe the new president as either a radical, a friend of terrorist or a terrorist himself rather than a Democrat or a liberal. How many times during the campaign did you run into someone who thought Obama was a Muslim as if simply being a Muslim is some sort of problem or that he was anti-American because he attended a church with an out-spoken minister?
Lies, lies, lies is this how an election is supposed to be won?
I see you raising your hand -- there were abuses on Obama's side as well. Well, I don't condone those, but what were the nature of those ads?
Well, much of the approach that was taken in the anti-Obama ads was window dressing for the real reason Obama was being tarred and feathered: rascism. Can you remember a presidential race in which people shouted, "Kill him!" at rallies? Did anyone shout that about John Kerry or Bill Clinton?
Don't take my word for it. Check out some of the videos up on Youtube. Go to http://mediamatters.org/countyfair/ and read what is being said about Obama.
If people want to debate his policies, that's fine. That's what campaigns are all about. When the debate centers around a candidate's "otherness" which is the tactic that was used in this election then we have a basic and distressing rejection of what this country is supposed to be all about.
If you're a real patriotic American who voted for McCain or Nader or Barr for that matter you will get over your loss and dedicate yourself to trying to work our way out of our troubles.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to mdobbs@thereminder.com or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.


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