In nearly every conceivable polar situation, there are people across a wide continuum of Left to Right, Liberal to Conservative, Pro to Con, For to Against, etc. Also present on the far ends of these continuums are the ugly 1%. These are most visible when they are willing to kill and maim for their cause. Bombing abortion clinics, assassinating leaders, spiking trees, burning ski resorts, using religion, fear, and violence as weapons against an ideology that they do not agree with.
Just inside of that ugly 1% is an ugly 2% that is probably not as violent, but equally driven by fear and hate. The Obama campaign mentioned numerous times the hateful and divisive chants and comments coming out of the McCain/Palin crowds at political events. There were chants of "nigger", "terrorist", "kill him", etc.
I agree with Senator McCain in that the whole of a party can not be held responsible for the actions of a few. That ugly 2% present at political rallies who would start chants like previously mentioned are not representative of the Republican party, but they do point to the existence of that 2% end of the spectrum that still exists today in America.
It is present everywhere.
John McCain dehumanized his political opponent and referred to him as "that one".
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the HEAVILY racially charged word "uppity" when talking about Barack and Michelle. "Just from what little I've seen of her and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity." And when asked about his use of the word "uppity", Westmoreland said again, "Uppity, yeah."
And if that were not bad enough, Obama's own running-mate, Joe Biden, was quoted as saying that Obama was the "first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
This is only a sneeze, a small cough, a runny-nose-symptom of a deeper, disgraceful problem that still exists in deeper currents within our society.
Racial reconciliation is a conversation that America is not yet ready for.
Economic division reconciliation is a conversation that America is not yet ready for.
But these are conversations that we will have to participate in, and engage in if we ever hope to fulfill the greatness that our nation is intended for.
As Wendell Berry put it in his poem "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front"
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Denounce does not mean to destroy, reject, or render worthless, but instead to "condemn or censure openly or publicly", or "make a formal accusation against, as to the police or in a court".
Confront and censure the racism and hatred of peoples. Bring about discussion, communication, and implementation of compassion, love, and relationships that can yield the crop of reconciliation.
Dr. Cornel West can put this much better than I can. At least watch part one, 10 minutes, and continue on to part 2 and 3 if you so desire.