After a week of campaigning with rhetoric appealing to the most rabid and seemingly unhinged portion of the right-wing base, I was glad to see Georgia Rep. John Lewis call out John McCain and Sarah Palin for their choices by invoking comparisons to George Wallace.
Of course, McCain quickly responded with self-righteous indignation; and the Obama campaign distanced themselves from the Wallace reference, but not the accusation of inflammatory rhetoric (particularly from Palin).
I’ve been thinking a lot about the potentially dangerous tone that the McCain-Palin campaign has been taking in light of comparisons between Barack Obama and John Kennedy. I think it is important to let McCain and Palin know that they will be held accountable for any consequences of their rhetoric.
McCain likes to talk about his strengths as a leader, which implies an ability to inspire action among his followers. If his followers end up becoming increasingly violent as a consequence of his or Palin’s words, then McCain shares responsibility for any harmful actions they might carry out.
The McCain-Palin campaign’s current attitude of denial seems somewhat analogous to parents who teach their kids to hate the police and disrespect authority, and then act shocked and surprised that they would be held legally responsible if their kids get into trouble with the law!