As the campaign draws to a close and the republican base becomes more and more hysterically fearful its important to realize that the American people are scared. Legitimately scared. Like everyone else I watched, aghast, as McCain tried to take the microphone from the elderly lady who, panting and sobbing for breath, was whispering out into public what McCain and his allies had been whispering out into her ears for so many months: “I'm afraid....he's an arab...” I'm not at all interested in the argument that briefly convulsed my fellow pedants in the bloggosphere as to whether there was any way in the world for McCain to answer that morally and grammatically with “no, he's a good family man.” If I were I'd come down on the side of “that's as good an answer as any when what he really needed was to stick a ball gag in her mouth, throw his arms around her and take her down into the muck and drown with her there as a show of good faith.” But I do want to point out something that is important.
America is full of frightened, petrified, lonely, weak people and they are in the midst of a collective psychotic break. Some of them are frightened that they are going to end up on the street, living in cardboard, eating cat food while their children's children die in Iraq. All of McCain and Palin's efforts at whipping up mass hysteria over Obama's supposed terrorist ties is simply a tactic to distract his voters from the fact that they are really, really, really, shit scared of the political and economic reality all around them. For all McCain's visible discomfort on camera when she said “Arab” he would have been absolutely petrified if she had said “Mr. McCain I live off my social security and my doctor accepts medicare. My son's son's are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and I”m afaid they'll die over there while you loot my retirement, and his, to pay for your wars. What can you offer an old woman like me other than fear of the terrorist under my bed?” He may have been discomfited to be caught on camera embracing the naked racism and hysteria of that old woman. But he would have been devastated if she'd actually given voice to her real concerns.