Saturday, October 11, 2008

Political Discourse

The campaign rhetoric has been increasing in its intensity as we enter the final weeks up to the election. There are enough examples of excess from followers of both candidates to keep one from pointing fingers. But, for me, until last night and this morning the examples of intolerance toward others political views was something I was watching from afar.

But now, this naked hatred has entered my neighborhood and I must admit to being somewhat shaken. In our middle-class community of mostly professional couples or single men and women, I believed there was an attitude of acceptance of our neighbors life style and political leanings. Since this is a townhome development, we don't have room for yard signs, but the ubiquitous campaign signs, both Republican and Democratic, have been making an appearance in windows throughout the complex.

One of my dog-walking neighbors is a quiet, polite, professional man who lives in a condo unit which has a brick patio wall facing the street. Yesterday, I noticed he had placed an Obama/Biden sign on this wall. I actually chuckled to myself, because I would have guessed him to have been a McCain supporter, if I had considered the matter at all.

Last night, on my before bed stroll with the bookends, I noticed something in the tree in front of this neighbors home. Checking it out, I found a hand-lettered sign taped to the tree claiming


Now I realize this is not as bad as some of the other types of hate speech which one sees and hears on a daily basis, but this still had a tone of intimidation just from the way it was presented, seemingly as a direct rebuke to my neighbors posting of a campaign sign. However, I just shook my head and didn't think much about it.

This morning, the Obama/Biden sign was gone, and the offensive notice on the tree still remained. It had achieved its desired effect. My neighbor had felt sufficiently threatened to remove his campaign sign from his wall. In my disgust over the obvious implications of this tiny example of the ugliness that is a part of this campaign, I ripped the offending message from the tree and threw it away.

I love to see people involved in the political process and welcome a public debate over the issues. But, I would hope we can show respect for those that disagree with us. This display of intolerance just unnerved me a little, and this is my blog, so I thought I would share - even if off-topic.

1 comment:

Sam said...

If you notice I haven't blogged the rather embarrassing state of political discourse in the US. It truly is a shame, and from what I hear recently, some of it is connected to racism. Great. I bet the people over in Europe find us to be true sign that the Neanderthals never did completely die off. Makes me wonder if the John Birch Society, KKK, and McCarthy-ites are still alive and well.