http://www.politico.com/arena/perm/James_J__Zogby_CFCB073B-D3F9-4CFA-BDEC-510D805D6676.htmlJames J. Zogby, President, Arab American Institute
When, a decade ago, Pat Buchanan unleashed his "pitchfork brigade", many recoiled at the ugly face of nativism it represented. We are seeing it again at McCain/Palin rallies, and it is no less ugly or frightening.
Economic dislocation, insecurity and "fear of the other" are a lethal brew. And when stirred with enough incitement, the results can be explosive. Add together the wink, wink snide comments at rallies, the subterranean rumor campaigns (amplified by the bullhorn of Rush and his ilk), and the toxic suggestiveness of the 30 second spots - mixing liar, terrorist, foreign, "different than us", Muslim - and the results can be dangerous.
And no, I can't give McCain credit for attempting to distance himself from all this (some of which Palin helped to fuel), especially when, in response to that sad old woman's concern that she couldn't trust Barack Obama because "he's an Arab", the best he could do was say "no, he's a decent human being". And then as the crowds booed, he took a step back.
I'm concerned about this election, to be sure. And, to be honest, I'm concerned about the impact that this bigotry will have on young Arabs and Muslims in the US. More than that, I am concerned about the future of our country. Once unleashed, nativism, will not quietly go away on November 5th.