A short while back, the New York Times carried a piece about concerns over Sen. Obama’s safety as he gets deeper and deeper into his run for the presidency. This wasn’t the first story I had read about this, but it’s the one that got me thinking the most.
So as I read the article, I jotted down my thoughts, which I’m basically going to regurgitate here. Forgive me for both any disorganization and anything that comes off as crass, offensive or tasteless. That’s obviously not my intent; I’m eager to have what I think could be a fascinating, important discussion.
The basic line of thinking goes like this: Obama has promised nothing if not change. Change scares people. He’s also not white, and that scares some “people.” I use the word “people” loosely in this context because, in the case of these types, a ruling on actual human status is pending.
This premise led me to several thoughts and questions, ranging in subject from journalistic ethics to campaign tactics and other related areas. Here are some of them. I hope you all will continue the discussion below.
What is the presumed motivation for these potential harm-doers? Rasicm? Fear of change? Desire to exert some sick sort of control or authority? A twisted compulsion to protect the nation’s security (based on the assumption that a liberal President Obama would put the United States in a weaker position in the world)?
If Sen. Obama is indeed capable of bringing about such great change, do we acknowledge this horrifying possibility and elect him despite the potential danger this change puts him in?
As a journalist, does continuing to write about this topic create an issue where little substance exists? Has there actually been a threat yet or just a large amount of security in hopes of preventing trouble? We know that Obama has been accompanied by Secret Service security detail since an earlier date than other president candidate in history, and there’s likely a reason for that. We also know that many journalists covering this issue defend their actions by making the focus of the story “regular people” who express these concerns in discussions at Obama rallies and whatnot. So they’re not push-polling the issue, if I can bastardize that bastard of a phrase, but does it warrant further attention short of further developments?
OK, so this one borders on crass: Does the danger, driven (presumably) by his promise of change, acknowledge that Obama “owns” the whole angle of “I’ll bring about change,” which Sen. Clinton has also tried to convey on and off for months? If Clinton were more compelling in promising change, would she be in danger as well?
Why isn’t Clinton in similar danger for being a woman? Is that not a big deal in the eyes of the crazed potential danger-doers?
Let’s just pretend ethics and decency play no part in president campaign communication (need we pretend?): Could Obama’s people gain from saying, “If he’s destined to be martyr, that’s the price that must be paid…” Wouldn’t that be wild?
Again, my only goal here is to share thoughts I had while considering this mind-boggling concept. What do you think?