It may sound as if it is going to be a joke, but it’s not funny.
Barack Obama enters the appropriately named Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken in Fayetteville, N.C., and a customer is less than welcoming:
“Socialist, socialist, socialist!” said Diane Fanning, 54, a Sam’s Club employee. “Get out of here.”
For many, Socialism has long been a dirty word but, at the tail end of a too-long campaign, thanks to the rhetoric of John McCain and Sarah Palin, it has become a curse word. Soon, parents will chastise their children for using it, and cautious publications will write social**m, or some such silly conflation.
A few weeks ago, McCain, who should know, asks rhetorically, “Who is Barack Obama?” We will never know if he got the answer for which he was fishing, when someone shouted: “Terrorist!”
Of course, the reason why campaigns latch onto buzzwords as sullied as “terrorist” is because they work. No serious thinking is required. It’s like attending grad school and the only books required are Cliff Notes. I’m willing to wager that were Ms. Fanning asked to explain the basic tenets of Socialism, she would instantly be transformed into a bumbling Sarah Palin.
However, it doesn’t require much analysis to understand why John McCain and Sarah Palin resort to buzzwords such as: Ayers, terrorist, Rev. Wright, Socialist. It’s because the issues that most concern voters are the very issues that have been broken by arguably America’s most unready-to-lead President, George Bush. Consequently, rather than being Plan B, their approach is actually Plan A.
And if McCain and Palin win, this approach will become a template for future electioneering. Why go to the expense and trouble of presenting a plan for the future? Why tell voters what you will do in office to make the US and the world a better place? Much easier to degrade and debase the other by using simple words, akin to “sit,” “heel,” “attack.” And watch the voters salivate.
This is, indeed, one for the record books. Take this one, which contains elements of humor:
“So a canvasser goes to a woman’s door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks whom she’s planning to vote for. She isn’t sure, has to ask her husband whom she’s voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, “We’re voting’ for the n***er!”
“Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: “We’re voting for the n***er.”
At least, I see some hope there. Albeit a racist, here’s a voter who is able to think rationally.
PATRICK B. BARR, formerly with The Daily Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org