Hatred based solely on race, creed and religion is still alive and well in the United States. OK, nothing new, but what I am reading online and as "citizen commentary" is frightening.
This story is not about small, angering Neo-Nazi marches scheduled throughout the county, but about mass murder and threats on presidential candidates.
Lara Jakes Jordan of the Associated Press reported that two white supremacists, ages 18 and 20, purportedly planned a cross-country killing spree of 88 African-Americans chosen at random, ending in the shooting of presidential candidate Barack Obama. Fourteen of the victims were to be beheaded. At the time of their arrest, the two were accused of shooting out a window in a small church of about 60 black members and possession of stolen guns.
According to the AP report, the court documents stated that the two men planned to "dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt." There are a lot of sick people out there.
On October 23, I wrote an article on my MyFoxStL's blog calling for the immediate sanction and condemnation of United States Representative Michele Bachmann , R-Minn., for comments she made on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on Friday, Oct. 17. Bachmann took the platform of calling all liberals "un-American" and traitors to this country. This included all members of Congress, all judges, all citizens. This included me and, if the shoe fits, you also. I believe Bachmann's words met the definition of "treason" and called for the House to take immediate and appropriate action.
Now comes the hard part. Does Rep. Bachmann fall into the same category as these two would-be assassins? I wonder if the two skinheads know that "assassin" is an Arabic word. I wonder if Bachmann knows the history of the "Red Scare" and Joe McCarthy. How one man destroyed the lives of thousands by merely suggesting that each had a connection, no matter how remote, to Communism? Does Bachmann understand how her actions further justify the actions of skinheads and other extremists in the "protection" of "their" white-Christian nation? A nation like that does not exist.
"Saturday Night Live" can make fun of the "crazy lady at the McCain rally" who had stated that Senator Obama was an "Arab." Yet, with all joking aside, there is seriousness in this type of offensive language and belief, beliefs that are fueled by bloggers on the Internet.
But, back to our two madmen.
More than 4,000 comments were made within 45 minutes of the AP report going up on AOL News alone. As with any public report allowing instant and uncensored commentary, the reaction was mixed, but most condoned the actions of these two maniacs.
Many discussed things other than the story, justifying their own dislike of Mr. Obama or Mr. McCain. Some comments were simply hateful and angry. Some quote and misquote their version of the Christian Bible and Torah, justifying the anger. Some misquoted the Quran or revealed a complete misunderstanding of Islam.
Too many Obama and McCain supporters were using this opportunity to call for support of their candidate instead of denouncing violence and hatred. Others repeat the unsubstantiated rumors, lies and contortions about both candidates. Some call for violent action and too many are just angry.
The point here is two men are accused of conspiring to murder 88 people based solely on skin color. As a nation, we should be able to come together and say, "This is wrong." We can't. We should be above this. We aren't. We should be ashamed.
David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.