Earlier today someone asked “what was the point of bringing up Farrakhan? How was that any sort of controversy?”
This, right here, is how:
NASHVILLE, TN – The Tennessee Republican Party today joins a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.
“It’s time to set the record straight about Barack Obama and where he really stands on vital issues such as national security and the security of Israel,” said Robin Smith, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. “Voters need to know about two items that surfaced today which strongly suggest that an Obama presidency will view Israel as a problem rather than a partner for peace in the Middle East.
Folks, when the chairman of a state’s Republican Party sends out a press release with the purpose of sowing religious fear in a free society, and uses Farrakhan’s denounced support to do so, there’s a problem.
And when one of our two main political parties has state-level officials promoting a picture of Obama in Somali garb as a purported example of his association with Islamic extremists in order to scare its constituents, there’s a problem.
Whatever the motive of last night’s question on the part of the debate moderator, it’s screamingly obvious that the controversy is real. However trivial it may have seemed to less-paranoid observers, there’s clearly a not inconsequential element of our society that believes all this, and dismissing it won’t make it go away.
Karl Rove and John McCain‘s efforts notwithstanding, the seeds for this religious xenophobia were sown over the last seven years, and the harvest is now ripe. We — all of us — are going to have to stop seeing such paranoia as the mad ravings of a lunatic fringe, and deal with it somehow. It’s much bigger than that.
Unfortunately, I don’t even know where to start.
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Update: From the Nashville Post:
“Senator Alexander has talked with Robin Smith, and she is removing the release and the photo from the website. She and the senator agreed it could be easily misinterpreted, taken out of context and considered inappropriate.”
Misinterpreted? Taken out of context?
Ya know, I really don’t think that’s a real risk. Do you?