Written by Buddhist teacher Nichiren Daishonen over 600 years ago, it seems to capture what is happening this very week in the campaign. I do not mean to reduce McCain to the term "evil", because I think that is too reductionistic. But the McCain campaign is actively and vigorously appealing to the ugly underbelly of their party--yes, the bitter, angry, God-fearing, gun-toting rabble that Obama described once to the San Francisco "elite". These people are angry as hell and they are quickly transforming the McCain campaign into a mob, with an increasingly hostile mob mentality. Comments directed at Obama like "kill him!", "terrorist!" and "off with his head!" are being heard more and more frequently at McCain rallies.
McCain supporters have decided for the sake of convenience to brand Obama as their 21st century Salem witch, and have deemed him a worthy receptacle for all of their own personal ills, failures, fears, resentments and regrets. Obama burning in effigy is, no doubt, coming soon to a "Country First" rally near you.
To say that McCain has lost his way would be a gross understatement. To see him and his faithful female sidekicks stoke the fires, is the most blatant example of how and why he is NOT fit to lead. He is either allowing the mob to lead him, or he is encouraging the mob to take him and his country down into the sludge, for the sake of his own ego.
McCain's claim to have the "steady hand on the tiller" is an absolute farce. The only person on either side who has been steady throughout this entire campaign is Barack Obama. Even when surrogates in his own campaign begged him to get angry, get tough, come out swinging, Obama remained steady. He is as unflappable as any man I have ever seen under fire. He seems to proceed with the calmness of a man who has already arrived at the destination, when everyone else is complaining about the stones on the road in front of them. His ability to see and describe the "big picture" is the very thing the Republicans mock, but it is also the thing they cannot envision with their own candidate, and they know it. In a word, they are jealous, and their egos are as bruised as McCain's. And McCain's solution for these people? Get mad and get even.
Obama, on the other hand, continues to stay on the high road. When his campaign has flirted with the negative snipes in ads, thousands of supporters and bloggers like myself have contacted the campaign demanding cease and desist. And they have listened. They are not perfect. Nor is he. But the contrast between hope and despair is so apparent now, that I almost feel sorry for these angry masses as they swirl around the cesspool of their own making.
(Tip of the hat to JumpyPants for Daishonen's quote)