The Dangerous, Violent Rhetoric Against Barack Obama

Dawn Teo in the Huffington Post:

PalinpitbullJohn McCain and Sarah Palin are attempting to imbue Obama with the characteristics of a traitor by disassociating him from “real America” and associating him with those who are commonly accepted in our society as public enemies. They are using rhetoric that has traditionally been reserved for propaganda against traitors and foreign enemies.

In fact, the McCain-Palin campaign is systematically invoking the image of an accepted enemy for each currently living generation, systematically creating an “us versus them” framework:

Communist and Socialist — for the older generation, those who were reared with fears of Stalinism and Marxism and Maoism

Terrorist and Muslim — for the younger generation, those whose fears center around the religious extremism, guerrilla warfare, or suicide bombers

McCain, Palin, and their surrogates have chosen to use words that are associated with the accepted enemies of each generation and each targeted social group, and they have applied those words to Barack Obama.

The McCain-Palin campaign is using what social psychologists call images of the enemy to create a hostile imagination. With words like “dangerous” and “terrorist” and “socialist,” the McCain-Palin campaign relegates Obama to an “outgroup”; they imbue him with the characteristics of otherness (he is not a “real American”); and they characterize him as an accepted enemy of the state (he is a “socialist” who “pals around with terrorists”). This language makes it seem acceptable to regard Obama as less than ingroup members and as the enemy.

More here.  [Thanks to Caroline Wuschke.]