Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mob Rule.

“Avoid whatever is approved of by the mob . . ." Seneca

n my not so short life
, I have seen two large rallies with ugly crowds. One in New York City in the 70's, which I have mostly forgotten except for a few angry faces, and the other, last Saturday in Philadelphia, which I hope I can forget.

Governor Sarah Palin was in Philadelphia staying at the Bellevue Hotel on Broad Street. I live nearby (temporarily) and was walking by the hotel when I noticed a crowd gathering. It was obviously a pro-Obama, anti-McCain rally, or more accurately, an anti-Palin rally. The word vitriol comes mind in reference to the groups disposition. About 500 attended with dozens of obscenity-worded placards sprinkled freely throughout, including the f-bomb with "Palin" at the end of the two word sentence. And then there was the shouting of same, over and over. I heard on the news of the 4 green t-shirts with "Palin is a . . . ". I stood on the outside fringe and watched for about 5 minutes, and departed after the first smoke bomb (just smoke) was dropped about 20 feet from me.

I mention this not as a Republican to criticize Senator Obama or to connect it to him. I have no doubt that he would find this as offensive as I did. Everyone did sport an Obama button or t-shirt or something, which associates him unfairly or not, just as the Obama-haters at McCain rallies do for McCain. I mention it because we have the idea that there is virtue in a majority of opinion, and a group like this illustrates how wrong that notion can be. As I have said before, envy and hatred are never good dispositions to build a political philosophy.

I mention it also because we are losing our civility. I enjoy the sport we call elections as much as anyone. I enjoy a well placed cuss word as much as the next guy. I even enjoy a little mudslinging dirty politics and the "if the defender is in the base path run him over" way of playing it. But I fear what I saw Saturday. If that is who we are as a culture, we deserve to be conquered by whichever barbarians are at our gate and should invite them in. This was ugly.

The United States is a Republic, more specifically a federal republic of states united, constrained and instructed by a constitution and bill of rights. But a Republic requires a certain level of civility, without which, no law or weapon can protect it.


Becca said...

While I agree there is no need for things like that. I think we must be fair, and point out that at the same rally similar things where happening by Palin supports. Here is a link to a pretty offensive Youtube video.


Francis Shivone said...

Becca -- different rally. Mine was in on Saturday in Center City. The guy in your video is a doof but you would have had to see what I saw. It's hard to describe. Thanks for contributing, Jake must be busy because I haven't seen a new post on his blog in a while.