Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How not to be a credit to your cause

In the wake of the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, former anti-abortion activist Frank Schaeffer called for others to be more vigilant about taking responsibility for their fringe on "The Rachel Maddow Show":

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I think this is an important point. And it reminds me of how, during the most heated parts of last fall's presidential election, John McCain and Sarah Palin disregarded concerns about some of the nastier elements who made it out to their political rallies.

In the end, I think it was the most distressing, most damaging part of their highly unimpressive campaign (other than a really bad grasp on the important issues).

I'm not sure how much it mattered to the final tally on Nov. 4. But I can easily imagine some reasonable undecided voters taking note of McCain essentially shrugging his shoulders when some of his supporters called for violence against Obama. Especially considering our country's long and shameful history of political assassination.

And I'm reminded of that - and how quickly McCain's campaign went into the tank - when I see Operation Rescue try so hard to disavow its connection to accused killer Scott Roeder.

Schaffer says:

When evangelicals on the right call President Obama a socialist, a racist, anti American, an abortionist, not a real American, and, echoing the former Vice President, someone who is weakening America's defenses and making us less safe, the logical conclusion is violence. If you take these words literally you might pull the trigger to "make America safe" and/or free us from communism or to even protect us from -- what some "Christian" leaders claim -- Obama as the Antichrist.

... The same hate machine I was part of is still attacking all abortionists as "murderers." And today once again the "pro-life" leaders are busy ducking their personal responsibility for people acting on their words. The people who stir up the fringe never take responsibility.

It's distasteful. It's dishonest. It's part of their record. And it's ultimately damaging to their own cause.

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