With each day that passes it appears more likely that Barak Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president in 2008. It also is clear that, although the great majority of the American public is sufficiently non-racist to consider his candidacy in a color-blind manner, there are enough racists and other types of bigots out there to cause considerable trouble. Since these people are almost all among the 30% or so of the voting population who will never vote for a Democratic candidate under any circumstances and without whom a Democratic candidate can still achieve a land-slide victory their opposition to Barak Obama’s candidacy does not in itself pose any problem.
The problems would only be if they are successful in spreading lies, rumors and distortions which, like the Swift-Boat Veterans attacks on John Kerry in 2004, sway under-informed undecided swing voters. As we learned in 2004, considering obvious lies and smears as being unworthy of a response is not a winning strategy. People of good will need to immediately respond to racist and bigoted talk about Barak Obama whenever and wherever they encounter it. Even if you do not support Barak Obama’s candidacy decency demands that this is the time to stand up to bigotry and lies.
Mitt Romney had been talking on the campaign trail about how he remembered seeing his father marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for civil rights. When people who had researched the issue and had documentation proving that Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, had never actually marched with Dr. King (although he apparently shared most of Dr. King’s views on racial matters) asked the Romney campaign about this they explained that Mitt had not meant to imply that his father had literally marched. He had figuratively marched alongside Dr. King.
Well, ok. Let’s all figuratively march with Dr. King. When you hear someone trying to imply something negative about Obama because his middle name is Hussein ask what someone’s name has to do with anything. When someone says that they have heard Barak attended a Muslim religious school as a youngster tell them that CNN and ABC investigated those charges and refuted them. When someone talks about “those” Obama supporters who may riot if he loses or may be or do this or that, ask them what Obama supporters they mean—Iowans?