“McCain can suck on my left nut,” one young and spirited Obama supporter hollered when leaving the campaign rally in Leesburg, Virginia Wednesday night, as he passed by a family of McCain supporters that I was standing next to.
Anybody who has been to a lot of political events understands that they attract a wide spectrum of people, and that in any group of thousands, you’re going to find certain number of jerks. One of the most unfair aspects of the coverage of this year’s election has been the way the media has cherry-picked supporters at McCain-Palin rallies to create a false narrative that those who back the Republican ticket are angry, ignorant, racists, while at the same time, they portray Obama supporters as angelic figures whose hearts are filled with nothing but tolerance and hope.
Yet at the Leesburg rally, about five to 10 McCain supporters gathered around outside to express their concerns with Obama’s record on abortion, and had to endure nasty heckling from Obama supporters who were passing by. A young girl said that somebody gave her the middle finger, and one woman described a red-faced man who got in her face and began screaming and cursing at her.
I should note that these signs were not some of the more provocative ones you’ll sometimes see from anti-abortion protestors, but read: “Obama is not Pro-Life” and “A Child Born Alive Deserves Basic Human Rights.”
Tom Dunn, a Republican on the Leesburg Town Council, told me that somebody shouted “fascist” at him when he was hanging up a McCain sign that afternoon. Meanwhile, his colleague on the council, Ken Reid was inside the Obama rally, and witnessed Obama supporters ripping McCain-Palin signs out of the hands of two men, and tossing the signs in the trash.
The point here is not to attack Obama supporters unfairly. There were a reported 30,000 people at the rally, and the overwhelming majority of them were quite pleasant. But if I wanted to be a disingenuous reporter, I could have gone to the rally only seeking out the bad ones, and blown things completely out of proportion to provide a false portrait to the public. And that’s exactly what the media did to John McCain and Sarah Palin.