Ashley Todd has given a gift to millions of Obama/Biden supporters. Ms. Todd has given the Candidate, and all of us, the opportunity to say, "You're forgiven". And, in fact, the opportunity to show to her -- and to Republicans, and the World at large -- how Democrats are different.
I'm not totally contrarian here. This is what one Kos Commenter wrote a little while ago, in the now very giant thread underneath the "Breaking Diary" on Ms. Todd's hoax (I've cleaned-up a couple of typos):
There is obviously something very wrong with this young woman period - far from home, and wanting to be a 'true believer' in a misbegotten cause. So as satisfying as it is to condemn her, we adults can spare her some sympathy for doing something this stupid, and ultimately this personally destructive. This girl has a hard road ahead.- but she too is a citizen, and therefore, a member of the Family.
Remember, MLK said "hate is too great a burden to bear"
Mother of Sgt Sherwood Baker, KIA 4/26/04
Continue on. . .
Meteor Blades, in his Top of the Rec List Diary mentions this, too, in passing:
"Whatever happens in the legal system, let’s hope Todd gets some psychological counseling, court ordered if necessary. She's young. She can get better."
From his Diary, "Lynch Mob"
I truly hope that Keith Olbermann doesn't put Ms. Todd on his "Worst Person" list. I hope that when he -- most certainly -- talks about her and her horrific hoax tonight, he speaks to the opportunity to show compassion to and for an incredibly wrongheaded deed perpetrated by an uncannily confused young woman. To echo (and quote) Meteor Blades: "There is no hope, however, for jackals like Drudge, numerous other rightwing bloggers, and executive vice president for Foxaganda. . . " Nor should there be any compassion for these despicable people.
But I want to get back to Ms. Todd. She apparently thought she could do John McCain and Sarah Palin a good turn, but making an accusation that could be a "game-changer" for McCain's flailing and failing campaign. That McCain and Palin are now making their case for election on shameless lying, over-the-top fear-mongering and appeals to the darkest aspects of human nature is now beyond question. That such a constant barrage of hate and filth would "inspire" the most emotionally vulnerable among McCain/Palin supporters to "sacrifice" themselves -- to lay down their last shred of integrity, as Ms. Todd did -- for The Cause was, I believe, inevitable. I shudder to think what other, similarly-minded Republicans may be contemplating right now . . .
But, again, this bizarre and tragic episode presents an opportunity to not only shine an intensifying spotlight on the cesspools that inhabit the brainpans of McCain and his strategists, it also allows Obama supporters a chance to embrace this young woman as a (now assuredly-shattered) victim of the McCain Hate Machine.
In the book, and the movie, "To Kill a Mockingbird", we feel more pity than anger for the ersatz victim of "black on white" sexual assault, Mayella Ewell. We recoil at her public shame -- for lying, not at her tragic devotion to perpetuate The Lie in order to "protect" her father. We suspect that Bob Ewell, her disgusting, craven, violent, drunken, bigoted father, will likely kill her if she admits to her false report.
McCain isn't exactly "Bob Ewell" and Ms. Todd's not exactly Mayella, but the broad parallels are noteworthy nonetheless, chief among them is the reader's, or audience member's, sadness for Mayella which overwhelms whatever feelings of disaffection one may have for so naive and manipulated a young woman as she.
Again, she deserves pity and even love. Do the unexpected thing: don't hate the person who perpetrated a hateful act. Do the audacious thing: don't despise the person that committed a despicable act. That's a tall order, certainly, but by filling it, millions of Obama supporters can demonstrate that Change is in the air.
Horrible lies, worthy of more pity than outrage.
Part of what I think we're all shooting for here -