Politics & Media
Sep 30, 2008, 12:18PM

The Very Real and Very Deadly Politics of Hatred

Excuse the ponderous headline, but the recent events that have transpired in Dayton, Ohio, are quite possibly an act of domestic terrorism.

"Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After Obsession DVD Hits Ohio"

It's one of those headlines you can't quite process after the first read-through. You blink, you stare for a moment and as you read the article's lead and nutgraf you realize it's not a joke, not an Onion piece. It is real.

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West is a free DVD "documentary" of radical Islam that does nothing but tap into every possible irrational fear that might lay in hearts of swing-state voters. It was broadcasted on FOX before the 2006 mid-term elections and it's rolling out now though the swing states via newspapers.

As per Huffington Post's Erik Ose:

Talking heads in the film include infamous anti-Muslim, self-proclaimed "islamophobes" like Daniel Pipes and Walid Shoebat. In 2001, Pipes claimed the "presence" and "enfranchisement" of Muslims in the U.S. presented "true dangers to American Jews." Shoebat is an evangelical Christian who falsely claims to be a former Muslim terrorist. Last year, Shoebat told the Missouri Springfield News-Leader, "Islam is not the religion of God - Islam is the devil."

Another HuffPo contributor, Chris Rodda points out that,

The presidential campaign edition of the Obsession DVD, produced and currently being distributed by the Clarion Fund, carries the endorsement of the chair of the counter-terrorism department of the U.S. Naval War College, using the name and authority of an official U.S. military institution not only to validate an attack the religion of Islam, but to influence a political campaign.

While there are small pieces of evidence that the Clarion Fund supports McCain, I in no way believe McCain encourages this type of "dialogue." Indeed, this isn't dialogue. That the authorities in Ohio are not saying this act was a hate crime (or even contemplating it as such) is a disappointment to say the least. Regardless if the Ohio police are too timid to call out their fellow statesman, both presidential candidates need to address this issue head on.

The realities of America's foreign wars, use of torture and erosion of civil liberties are too big to ignore. Yes, McCain and Obama talked about talks with Iran and attacks on Pakistan. But the very culture of the foreign countries we're "involved" have changed dramatically with time and weith our policies.

And part of what we need to do, what the next president has to do -- and this is part of our judgment, this is part of how we're going to keep America safe -- is to -- to send a message to the world that we are going to invest in issues like education, we are going to invest in issues that -- that relate to how ordinary people are able to live out their dreams.

Barack Obama said that in his closing remarks at last Friday's presidential debate. If Obama believes in his trickle-up approach to politics, issues like this incident in Dayton need to be met with full force. If McCain wants to distance himself from the hate mongering and racism that continue to infect the Republican Party, he, too, needs to meet these kinds of situations with full force. There is no alternative.

  • The level of intolerance in this country is certainly at a high in my short lifetime. What a disturbing story, and it's like dopes who think all Muslims are terrorists and Hispanics are stealing jobs. I imagine this insane jingoism is similar to the prejudice against immigrants in the two world wars. If McCain had the guts he implicitly boasts about, he'd make a statement about this immediately.

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  • What a horrible thing to have happened. Absolutely inexplicable.

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  • Andrew, I must say you have been the best political writer on this site. Thanks for pointing out the horrific consequences of political pandering. It is the mentality you reveal which scares me most about the direction of this country and it's politics. It is clear that McCain will do anything to get in office but few realize that through his ignoring of these subjects, Obama is just as culpable

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  • The distribution of this DVD has been put a silent stain on this election...It's so eery how it's been moving throughout the population without people noticing. I don't know what to say. It seems from the original story that the children and their mother are still alive, thank God.

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