In today's Washington Post, Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Eisenhower, weighs in on something only a handful of Americans have ever experienced: what it is like growing up in public as a child under the care of armed security.
Like any decent person, I was offended and appalled by the latest vicious attack by the NRA, targeting Malia and Sasha. But my outrage pales in comparison to anything Eisenhower must feel. Most telling is her closing paragraph:
Even a longtime Washingtonian such as I thought these ads couldn’t get worse. So I have a question for the NRA and others who use such tactics: Have you no sense of decency, sirs?Those who remember their American history recognize that question and know why she asks it now.
For those who don't recognize the question, it was the question Joseph Welch asked Joe McCarthy during the famous McCarthy-Army hearings. That moment marked a turning point in American history. It happened during the Eisenhower administration, when Susan would have been too young to appreciate its import.
But I think her choice of this question signals her belief that we are, once again, at a turning point when America will recoil in disgust having seen the true face of the threat to our liberty.
The McCarthy-Army hearings were notable for the fact they were the first hearings aired on TV. They had been going on for some time and could be followed on radio. But McCarthy's venality was not as obvious without the video. To give you an idea of how much of an impact these hearings had on popular culture, TV sales skyrocketed as people bought them to watch the hearings -- which dominated TV coverage for months.
The fact the NRA would target children shows how far out of bounds they are. Like McCarthy before them, they betray their wanton disregard for common decency. Hopefully, their fate will be that of McCarthy -- dying alone, forgotten, disgraced, and humiliated.
During the 2008 campaign, like many others, I harbored a dread for Obama's safety. It took me a long time to write about that, the pain of 40 year-old wounds ran deep. As I consider the depravity of the NRA's attack on the Obama children, I am shocked to realize how twisted these bastards are. As dark as the '60s were, no one ever seriously thought the Kennedy children were targets.
Searching my memory, I have a hard time finding a moment in history that could even come close to the nightmare these animals call forth with their dog-whistle. Unfortunately, I can think of such a time. The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing in 1963. Remembering that event, it no longer shocks me that the NRA would conjure up that image. I would sooner be shocked that a rabid dog bit a child. At this point, there is only one thing left to do. We have to put them out of their misery, for our own protection: