I really try to focus this blog on McCain's positives rather than Obama's negatives (although there are of course many of both). But I must address an important concern that my Moms have raised: intimidation, harassment, and illegal acts against them because they support McCain. A few examples reported in the media:
In Portland, Oregon this week, a man's McCain sign was set ablaze with homemade firebombs, less than 5 feet from where his injured wife was sleeping. (A similar incident occurred here in Seattle when a senior citizen put up a McCain sign and the infamous 'flaming bag of poo' got out of hand and nearly burned his home to the ground.)
Dozens of McCain supporters were harassed, cursed and intimidated in New York City merely for marching down the street waving signs for their candidate.
The South Carolina GOP suffered several hundred dollars' worth of damage and theft when the York County office was tagged with hate-graffiti claiming 'Republicans Love Slavery.' (Guess Abe Lincoln didn't get that memo.) An Oklahoma City GOP office suffered similar vandalism, and local residents there report theft and damage to private property as a result of visible support for McCain.
Even more alarming, however, are the personal stories McCain Moms are sharing, often reluctantly, with me and with fellow supporters:
A Florida Mom was cursed at with racial epithets and hate speech in front of her young children - because of a bumper sticker, and over $50 in McCain signs were stolen from her suburban neighborhood over the course of weeks.
A Minnesota woman found her minivan dented - intentionally, based on the damage her vehicle sustained - while she was at a McCain-Palin rally.
A Pennsylvania Mom of 2, who is pregnant and on her own much of the work-week due to her husband's business travel, organized a "sign drive" in her neighborhood. She woke up one morning and found that over $100 of McCain signs she purchased and helped neighbors put up had been stolen.
A New Hampshire Grandma spent her entire weekend putting up dozens of McCain signs in New Hampshire. The next morning they were all gone - several hundred dollars out of her pocket.
A Washington woman driving three elderly women on a volunteering trip was loudly flipped off and harassed in traffic by a carload of cursing Obama supporters - due to her bumper sticker. Dozens of Moms told tales of parking their McCain-stickered minivan, only to emerge from the supermarket to find a total stranger had ripped their sticker off.
American voters, and both candidates, deserve better.
After months of encouraging you to go get signs and stickers, why would I share these stories? Well, for starters, I care more about my family's safety - and yours - than the outcome of any election, anywhere, anytime. I can't in good conscience tell you to go out and get McCain signs without asking you to use good judgment about your safety. (And, please, please, report ANY suspicious actions to your local police, for your own protection and that of others.) But I also want to remind you that McCain needs your support both publicly and privately. And the only opinion that truly matters is the one you express privately on November 4 (or on your absentee ballot).
I want to note that there are plenty of ethical, responsible Obama supporters, and, unfortunately, some McCain supporters whose burgeoning 'anger' has gone too far. (Vitriol on our side is even more damaging, since the entire mainstream media is anxious to paint us as extremist loons.) I encourage anyone who thinks these kind of shenanigans are okay to follow our candidate's example and, as my Mom would say, put a lid on it. (If you're mad, use your anger constructively - to help get our guy elected.)
McCain rightfully defended Obama this weekend as a "decent family man." Contrast this with Obama himself, who is on record telling supporters who encounter opposite viewpoints to "get in their faces", and that in this campaign "when they bring a knife, we bring a gun." Folks, this is not a negative ad pointing out someone's voting record or shady associations -- these are words from the candidate's mouth, at public events, where kids and families were present. Undecided voters need to ask themselves which kind of example they want from our next Commander-in-Chief.
Sadly, these intimidation tactics are working. Thousands, perhaps millions, in America, are feeling pressure to vote for Obama, not just because their favorite celebrity said so, and not just because of racial or party lines, but because they may fear for their lives, their job security, and their family's safety if they don't. "Pundits" are throwing fuel on the Fear Fire by floating the possibility of riots if the American people dare NOT to choose The One. This is perhaps the most irresponsible piece of reporting I've seen in this campaign (and no, I do not say that lightly).
Here is what I want to say to undecided voters, since no one else sees a need to. When you are in that booth, you can do what you want. We have 'secret ballot' for a reason in this country, because free speech requires protecting the nutcases and common sense requires protecting ourselves. Have the courage to speak your mind: publicly if you can, privately if you must. Men like John McCain fought and died for that right. Please don't let a few dummies take it away.