I’m not holding my breath in these last desperate weeks waiting for an end to it, but Brave New Films and The Color of Change are calling for McCain/Palin to condemn the hate and fearmongering being perpetrated by those angry mobs of supporters. They stoked the fires and now we see this:

We’d like to talk about the pressing issues facing our country: the woeful economy, rising unemployment, the housing crisis, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we can’t talk about them because John McCain and Sarah Palin have distracted us with the politics of hate and fear.

Instead of discussing the real issues plaguing Americans, McCain and Palin have turned to fear-mongering and race-baiting, stoking the prejudices of their supporters. The situation has become so critical that we’ve teamed up with Color of Change to put an end to these dangerous mob scenes.

Things have gotten so out of control that some conservatives have come forward to denounce McCain and Palin’s hate-mongering. In an Op-Ed for The Baltimore Sun, Frank Schaeffer writes: “John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as “not one of us,” I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.”

Don’t let McCain and Palin undo the decades spent fighting for civil rights and equality in our country.

Even Russ Feingold, linked as partners in campaign finance reform legislation. with McCain, can no longer stand by in silence while the bigot mobs continue erupting with McCain/Palin alternating between stoking them and ignoring them. (via email):

“In a closely fought campaign like the Presidential race, elements of either side can get caught up in the emotions of the contest.  This is especially true during stressful economic times.  I heard Senator McCain help tamp down the rhetoric at a recent town hall meeting.

Regrettably, he needs to do more of that.  An energetically waged campaign can all too easily slip over into something hateful and dangerous, and everyone from the candidate on down needs to do whatever it takes to stop that.  It won’t seem credible for the John McCain I know to say his campaign should be respectful, while seeming to look the other way as his campaign employs certain tactics and rhetoric which apparently are intended to appeal to the fears of some Americans.”

I like that he made the point that McCain has changed – he’s not the man he knew back in the day. That’s an understatement.

The open letter from Color of Change and Brave New Films to the McCain/Palin campaign is below the fold.

Dear Senator McCain and Governor Palin,

Time and again in America, people of all races and backgrounds have overcome division and fear, and come together to uplift the country and create a more equal and just society. It’s part of what makes this country great.

With an African-American nominee running on a major party ticket and a woman on the Republican ticket for the first time in history, this campaign has seen Americans–men and women of all races–inspired to continue that great tradition, coming together to bridge the gaps that history has set between us in service of our national progress.

But let us be clear: while we have made great strides in this country when it comes to racial equality, we are not finished. Now, more than ever, we need leadership that understands that we live in complex times where too many are quick to judge another by the complexion of their skin or the sound of their name.

In the last few weeks, Senator McCain and Governor Palin, rhetoric at your campaign events has taken an increasingly dangerous tone that seems to ignore the precarious state of our progress when it comes to race and ethnicity.

Supporters at your rallies and other events have used hateful language and called for violence against Sen. Obama yelling “kill him!” “off with his head!” and “bomb Obama.”

For the most part, you have stood by in silence. In addition, you have also repeatedly made statements that somehow connect Senator Obama with terrorism. Your surrogates have emphasized his middle name. This is problematic and dangerous, and we believe helps create the conditions that have given rise to these incidents of violent rhetoric from some of your supporters.

Today, we’re standing together as Americans of all political persuasions to express our deep concern that the decisions of your campaign are contributing to a dangerous atmosphere of paranoia, division, and hate that, as we have already seen, has the potential to seriously harm our country and its progress.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

In these trying times, candidates seeking the highest offices in the land must call on the best in each of us, and call off the worst.

We urge you to join people of conscience from all races and backgrounds to reject the politics of division and fear, and come together to uplift the country and create a more equal and just society.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding