A Chilling Note From a Student: Classmates Discuss Shooting Obama
By Greg Mitchell
Originally published November 18, 2008 on Huffington PostOver at my magazine's site, starting over a week ago, we have been chronicling local anti-Obama incidents, many far from the national spotlight, usually involving racist attacks of a verbal, physical or even criminal nature. A few days ago, the Associated Press and some other news outlets picked up on it. But at Editor & Publisher we are still receiving tips and personal accountsv every day, often from small towns in both red and blue states.
Here is the latest just this morning from a student in Iowa (I have her name and address but won't release it here), a state Obama carried rather easily. It is much in line with reported incidents of other school kids, some as young as 7 or 8, talking about "assassinating" Obama. Of course, they couldn't carry that out themselves but what is chilling is that they are likely just repeating language or threats they hear at home.
Here is today's note:Last night a reader tipped us off to an incident in another Obama-friendly state, Michigan, in the town of Buchanan. Members of the South County Democratic Club woke up Saturday to find their building vandalized with swastikas and racist comments, spray painted on the side of the structure. These kind of incidents have been too common to list all of them.
I'm not sure who to email on this, but there have been several derogatory things said about Obama in our school, and one of them got a student suspended. I go to a school in a little town called Letts, Iowa. We are pretty down home, country road farm kids out here. But never, in my 11 years at the school, have I ever heard the conversation take such a negative turn.
The remark that the student was suspended for was this, "Well, it's called the White House for a reason. We need to get that God damn N----- out of there."There were other remarks, mostly by students who hunt. They were discussing how far a shotgun could shoot, and decided that they could get to a high enough vantage-point to shoot Obama from at least 2 miles away, without anyone ever knowing where the shot came from.
"Another Kennedy" they were saying.
And to show the true national, if scattered, character of this, I woke up this morning to find this editorial in my local paper, the Journal News, here in deep-blue New York State. The official is from the city of Ossining (the TV home of Don Draper of Mad Men):Anyone naive enough to believe that Barack Obama's landmark victory would mean an end to racial bigotry and stupidity need look no farther than Ossining for proof positive that we still have a ways to go. Americans made history by electing Obama the first black president; what they didn't do, by any stretch, is wipe away years of ingrained racial prejudice, insensitivity and, once again, stupidity.
Thomas Reddy, assistant village fire chief, deserved a swift boot to the curb for circulating a "knock-knock" joke that ends with a caricature of Obama and the words "Eyes Yo New Prezident." As a former police detective and top fire official - someone who many people want to respect and admire - Reddy is supposed to be a leader in racially diverse Ossining, not an embarrassment. He's supposed to set the bar for better conduct, not lower it. He let all of us down.
Our intentions materialize our realities; my intentions are materializing these words; your intention, o reader my Reader, keeps you passing your eyes over them, intending to hear what I have to say.
Intentions materialize reality. Whose intentions are now materializing this wave of hate?
Nobody told all these people to do all these hateful things. Listen, even though these words, right here, have never been spoken, nevertheless you now hear them within you. So whose voice is this?
This is what Scott McClellan called "manipulating the media narrative." As a poet, I call it myth-jacking.
Take a close look at McCain's concession speech. Right at the start, at the mere mention of our next president's name, the crowd starts booing., doing violence even to Obama's name.
McCain holds out his hands, attempting to tamp down the hate realized by his intentions, to jack the nation with hateful lies about Obama's faith, patriotism, and person.
Propagandists use words in only a mechanical fashion, shooting message pellets at target demographics with the violent intention of forcing changes in behavior in the direction they dictate.
Compare the Pentagon's Message Force Multiplier program to deploying snipers: Hide intentions; shoot mouths off; and kill just as directly as pulling a trigger, dropping a bomb or launching a rocket-propelled grenade.
Who had the intention to jack the election? By the principle of command responsibility, we must now hold them accountable for the foreseeable--and abundantly predicted--effects of their deliberate actions.