I have a growing concern about the GOP campaign. A couple of concerns, actually - ones I hadn't even considered until recently.
The more I watch John McCain, the more I see a very, very angry man. There's a thinly covered hostility when he debates Barack Obama. Sometimes it's not even veiled..."that one," for instance. I didn't take it as a racial thing - I took it as a condescending, aggressive remark I'd expect toward someone for whom you have no respect whatsoever. Not good politics.
But even more, I read about McCain's reputation for having a nasty temper and wonder just what his experiences as a prisoner of war have done to his psyche. I realize there's a lot of garbage out there that passes for information and I don't want to overreact, but there's one story after another about McCain's loss of control - either physically or verbally. And then there's his latest gaffe..."my friends" and "my fellow Americans" gave way to "my fellow prisoners." If you haven't heard about it, you can read it here....
John McCain has been through hell. There's no disputing that. And that kind of trauma leaves a mark. Has anyone really looked into that? Is this man wounded emotionally as well as physically?
Then there's the increasingly strident and ugly rhetoric at the campaign rallies. Sarah Palin whips the crowd up to an angry frenzy and some people shout to actually physically harm the Democratic candidate. Does Palin or McCain say, "Whoa, now...wait a minute. This is about philosophy and politics and democracy - not about eliminating your opposition!"? No. Not that I've seen, anyway.
And if they don't, they are encouraging something that has no place in the America they say they believe in. We don't kill. We don't torture. We don't do violence to those who disagree with us. At least that's what we say.
John McCain and Sarah Palin have a moral obligation to keep this campaign under control. If they incite violence, I hope they never sleep well again. And I hope they understand that they, more than anything they believe Barack Obama could do, will have helped destroy America.
LATER NOTE: Since I wrote this, John McCain did try to defuse the growing hysteria among some of his supporters. He assured people at a rally that they didn't have to fear a Barack Obama presidency. He told them Obama is a decent, Christian man who loves his family and his country. And McCain's supporters booed him. The fear some of the Republican faithful have of the Democratic candidate is beyond reason - and the mob mentality is growing so strong that they will even turn on their own man if he tells them it has no basis in reality.
Tonight, I'm betting John McCain is wondering what kind of monster his campaign has unleashed. And I'll be truthful. I'm afraid.