The killing fields


Just over a week ago Comment Central asked its readers to answer in no more than eight words what their 'single biggest hope was for Obama'. It currently has over 1800 comments, and will no doubt continue to attract more. Mr Obama has promised change and it comes as no surprise that there are many people investing their hope in him and what the dawn of 20 January 2009 will bring. But a few days after this went up Daniel Finklestein posted a further blog titled, "Barack Obama and people who want him killed" in which he asserted his surprise at the negative/borderline psychotic comments that hoped for the demise of the President-Elect. He should not be surprised.

Being President of the USA comes with risk – just ask any of the previous incumbents, many of whom have the scars to prove that the risk is very real. There have been four successful assassinations, Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and of course Kennedy. Attempted assassinations can be found during the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan (and if you believe everything you read on the net, Bush, Clinton and Bush). Change brings with it fear, and that is what these people are professing, a fear of that change and the perceived negative consequences if things do change.

The present POTUS has been assailed with threats for the past 8 years. It's not difficult to forget the heart rending pleas of Democrats post November 2004, many of whom were moving North (to Canada, of course), and I'm sure many of them would have liked the life of the President to be expunged swiftly following his re-election. But like all those who live in a democracy should, most knuckled down and got on with their lives, hoping for little, or no, negative impact from policies emanating from the halls of government. Hate in politics is, sadly, natural: the unintended consequences of political decisions undoubtedly harm some and make their lives poorer, and if those people feel trapped with no options left, they will clutch at any action they can take.