My old pub crawling pal Juan Cole vented the other day about the US being a "nation of masochists." It was one of his livelier posts, fueled by the growing fear that McCain will be the next president. Being a somewhat partisan Dem, Juan naturally lays much of America's sorry condition at the GOP's filthy feet. He's mostly right, but does skim over the crucial assistance that the mules have handed the Bush gang at practically every turn. If liberals are freaked by McCain's staying power, they can thank their Party's key players for giving the veteran gook killer the oxygen he needs to win. And let's not forget that liberals are usually the biggest masochists around.
Still, I don't think that "masochism" fully applies here. Ignorance, fear, and delusion play major roles as well. This morning's New York Times reports that a DC reactionary group, Freedom's Defense Fund (don't that git yer nipples all hard'n tight?), is running ads in Michigan's Macomb County, portraying Obama as essentially a terror-happy Islamonigger who, once in office, will rip off his moderate mask and steer this fine Christian nation toward ruin and oblivion. That's the gist I get, anyway. Like so many liberals, numerous reactionaries appear to believe that Obama's not a willing servant of capital and empire, but that he harbors a secret self, saying what he must in order to be elected. Come Inauguration Day, the Real Obama emerges, which for liberals is a progressive patriot channeling FDR, and for right wingers, a treasonous surrendercrat, wiping Iranian and North Korean asses with Old Glory.
We knew this was coming, eh kids? And it's not even October yet! I can't wait to see what kind of shit surfaces over the next month.
I'm sure that those reactionary ads will sway white Michiganders already leaning in that sordid direction. Visual aids help racist appeals, smearing Obama's non-white face all over the screen. Here in liberal Ann Arbor, McCain bumper stickers and lawn signs are steadily growing in number, a few of which are on my quiet block. I don't know what this means for Obama, but it can't be good. Juan has doubtless noticed this as well, hence his alarm. But really -- given our history and who we are as Americans, is any of this really surprising?