Foul Stench Brewing
– by David Matthews 2
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.
Man adopts a puppy from the local animal shelter. The shelter worker warns the man that the puppy is a pit bull, with a tendency to be very territorial and very aggressive. The man thanks the shelter worker for the warning, but he doesn’t see anything wrong with this cute little puppy. He trains the puppy to be aggressive, rewards it when it attacks anything he tells it to attack. He laughs when the puppy destroys things, and he thinks that it is absolutely precious when the puppy then comes bouncing back to him with its cute little face.
Time passes and the puppy gets bigger and more aggressive. Neighbors start complaining about the puppy getting too aggressive and too noisy. They accuse the puppy of charging at anyone passing by the property, be it a car, a jogger, or a kid on bike. The man ignores the complaints. Sure the puppy is charging after anyone it sees, but that’s what a guard dog is supposed to do, right? A guard dog guards the property! Besides, the puppy is on a leash, in a fenced-in yard. The neighborhood has nothing to fear… as long as they stay on the other side of the fence.
Time passes again, and the puppy is clearly a full-sized dog now. And the dog is not content with being on a leash. Quite often the dog bites through the leash and charges right up to the fence. The neighbors complain, but the man still doesn’t care. The man thinks the neighbors are dog-haters. They don’t own a dog. They don’t know about dogs. In fact, he accuses the neighbors of intentionally aggravating his “little puppy” just to cause problems.
Then there’s a scare. A neighboring kid makes the mistake of wandering into the lawn to get a ball. The dog charges after the boy, who manages to climb back over the fence in just the nick of time. The neighborhood complains, but the man will hear none of it. It’s the boy’s fault, after all. He intruded. The dog, his “little puppy”, was only doing what it was brought up to do. If the boy stayed on the other side of the fence, he’d be okay.
But then one day his “little puppy” does the unthinkable. After the umpteenth car or kid-on-a-bike passes by, the dog chews through its leash, runs over to the fence and begins to furiously dig underneath. Because it has done this on previous occasions after it has broken from its leash, and its master never did anything about it, the dog doesn’t have to dig long before it is under the fence and out on its own. It starts to chase after kids on bikes and passing cars before finally finding its prey… a mother and little girl in their own yard unloading groceries from the mother’s minivan.
Yes, we HAVE heard of this kind of story before. Sure there are some variations. Sometimes the dog wanders into someone’s home through a pet door. Sometimes the dog catches the kid on the bike. Sometimes the dog is still on the leash and manages to break free from the owner’s grasp. Sometimes the victim is an elderly woman. Sometimes the victim is a little baby. Sometimes the victim is badly mauled and lives. Sometimes the victim dies.
There are all of these variations. But they all have certain common elements. They all have a dog that is brought up by their owner to attack and destroy, a dog with a history of being overly aggressive, and the owner refuses to accept responsibility for their actions, even after someone dies.
The absolute arrogance of certain dog owners to systematically refuse to accept any kind of accountability for the monster that they intentionally created is mind-blowing! In one instance the tragedy actually happened right in front of the owner, and the owner still would have a straight face and deny any kind of accountability and just could not explain what happened!
Sadly, we face the same kind of tragedy with humans.
There is a foul stench that has been brewing in conservative and neo-conservative circles concerning Senator Barack Obama. It is a stench that has been brewing for quite some time, only now it has become more apparent.
That stench comes from the level of cult-like fanaticism emanating from the ranks of conservatives and neo-conservatives. And where once that stench was kept firmly in place and in check, it has boiled over in recent days.
As the November elections get closer and closer, the fanaticism amongst the John McCain/Sarah Palin camp has been getting worse and worse. Crowds now shout out “traitor” and “treason” when the name Obama comes up. Some have even called out for his demise. “Off with his head” serves as the more polite statement.
These are people who have been fed a steady stream of information about Obama and his past, and whether or not that information is the truth or fiction, it certainly has had the desired effect of riling them up, much like that stereotypical pit bull. They are now frothing at the mouth, seething with rage and anger. They’ve gone beyond being “bitter’. Now they’re saying that they’re genuinely afraid that they may have to deal with a Barack Obama presidency and they refuse to accept that.
Further aggravating the situation is Vice-Presidential wannabe Sarah Palin, the self-professed “pit bull with lipstick”. She has recently been stoking the fires of hate and resentment by bringing up Obama’s wafer-thin connection to William Ayers, a man who three decades ago was responsible for several bombings in this country, and using that to accuse Obama of “palling” with terrorists.
On the onset it sounds relatively tame… just another Rovian mudslinging tactic.
But lurking behind this negative attack was something that has been brewing long before Barack Obama ever set foot on D.C. soil, much less run for president: a profound and disturbing bias against, and perhaps even an outright HATRED of, Muslims.
And it didn’t take much to play on that. The folks in talk radio and in the White House all have been stirring that pot since 9/11, reminding people just who was responsible for that day, and what religion they claimed to have done it for. The White House and other key groups could not come out and say it, but there have been plenty of people – ministers and laypeople alike – that were willing to come out and claim that the “War on Terror” was really a holy war… THEIR holy war. All it takes is to drop a few key words, like “terrorist”.
And now here comes Barack Obama… someone who is dark-skinned. Someone with a Muslim father. Someone who said that he would be willing to talk with leaders of hostile nations… hostile MUSLIM nations. It really doesn’t take too much effort to morph that into accusing Obama of BEING a Muslim! Or, worse yet, a SECRET Muslim. A sleeper-cell “Manchurian Candidate” figure being groomed for the “ultimate goal”. Someone who “hangs around” with terrorists.
So thus we have little old ladies showing up a Republican rallies saying “I’ve read about Obama and… he’s an Arab!” And that’s far from the truth of course, but in her simplistic brainwashed mind and in the minds of those like hers, that’s all that they know.
Let’s get brutally honest here… much like that stereotypical pit bull, these conservatives and neo-conservatives have been slowly indoctrinated to HATE and ATTACK anything that is not like them. It’s been slowly encouraged and coddled and now it’s reached a point to where it can become dangerous. A point where it could lead to tragedy.
And although John McCain TRIED to talk down the raging crowd in one instance, it wasn’t long before he started acting like that stereotypical oblivious pit bull owner again, coming to the defense of his “cute little puppy” once the neighbors start complaining. That’s not good enough for someone who wants to become a leader of the WHOLE United States, not just the extremists.
History has shown where this kind of pervasive antagonism leads to, and it’s not pretty. And in several instances, what sparks it is otherwise innocuous. A child whistling at a woman. A government building burns down. What follows these events, though, are the product of years of hatred generated and stirred-up and indoctrinated into society. It goes beyond reason. It goes beyond rationality.
And in fact, it can be said that two of America’s most notorious and RECENT domestic terrorists were a product of this kind of antagonism. Eric Robert Rudolph, currently spending his life in Supermax, and the late Timothy McVeigh were both domestic terrorists, and they both were a product of this kind of antagonism. The late Paul Hill, an anti-abortion activist that was executed for the premeditated murder of a doctor, surrounded himself with antagonistic messages until he became so poisoned by them that he chose to take action.
John McCain needs to understand that he has a veritable powerkeg on his hands. An angry pit bull that he needs to contain before it breaks through and causes tragedy. The so-called “negative campaigning” is doing more than just turning off voters. It’s further antagonizing his own supporters, driving them further and further down the path of fundamentalist extremism. They are literally becoming the very hate-mongers that they claim to abhor in the Middle East!
Is that what John McCain wants to have attached to his name and to his campaign? Is that the kind of thing that he wants to be associated with?
At some point this antagonism will come to a head. It may come to a head after this election, maybe even BECAUSE of this election, but it WILL come to a head at some point if nothing is done about it.
Fortunately, humans are not like pit bull dogs. We CAN turn off the antagonism. We can prevent the situation from becoming a tragedy. But in order to do that, those in charge first need to understand that they HAVE a problem and that they are the ones that need to take action before it becomes a tragedy.