When the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws panel voted some supporters of Hillary Clinton stood and began to shout “Don’t steal my vote!” and “Let’s go, McCain!”. In "Apocalypse Now" (based" on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness), Kurtz (play by Marlon Brando) utters some of the most famous dying words in fiction: "the horror, the horror." I don’t use the word horror lightly, but the horror of Kurtz’s jungle and the horror of years more of needless death in Iraq under McCain should make reasonable people shudder.
While Americans are rightfully concerned about the economy, and sensible middle class voters ought to see through the Republican’s discredited trickle down tax cuts for the rich economic theories, the dangers to the republic of a McCain administration are that the erosion of our civil liberties brought about by eight years of Bush and Company must be brought to a screeching halt. All the damage already done to our constitutional rights by Bush and his go-along Congress must undone.
There are too many fuzzy similarities between Bush and McCain. This nation must have a president who is the antithesis of Bush, not a president who may or may not truly recognize the damage to the foundations of our democracy which we’ve suffered these past seven years.
Patrick Galloway writes in his essay "Heart of Darkness & Apocalypse Now: A comparative analysis of novella and film":
The dominant theme of Heart of Darkness is man’s vulnerability to his own darker nature and the various ways in which this terrible, savage, proto-man can be unleashed; power, the jungle, "the Company," all serve as catalysts for the emergence of this hidden, voracious id-thing within us all, most realized in Kurtz.
I’ll leave the similarities between Kutz and George W. Bush and some of the neocons who brought us the Iraq War aside, at least for this column. I want to focus on those "Let’s Go McCain" Hillary Clinton supporters who certainly don’t have the power of a Colonel Walter Kurtz.
Each one of them who believes in the ideals and vision expressed by their candidate is expressing a kind of madness now. Hopefully this is a temporary insanity, for each who really votes for McCain is succumbing to a darker nature of the heart made up of unreasoning anger and resentment, what author Galloway calls a "voracious id-thing within us all."
Together these voters could add up to enough votes in just one swing state in a close election to put John McCain into the Oval Office.
We don’t need to be reminded what happened in Florida in 2004. Just imagine if enraged Florida Clinton supporters cause the election to go to McCain in 2008 without hanging chad and disenfranchised voters. They will be responsible for keeping Americans fighting and dying in in a futile religious civil war in Iraq.
A McCain presidency will bog down a Democratic Congress as they fight to keep personal privacy and other civil rights from becoming more of the tragic jokes than they are now. The Senate will end up wasting time trying to block Supreme Court nominees so a new court won’t overturn Roe v. Wade. These are just just two more examples of what to expect from four more years of a conservative Republican president.
If Barack Obama’s delegate count puts him over the top this week, and Hillary Clinton does not withdraw and enthusiastically and wholeheartedly endorse him, she will send the message to those of her supporters threatening now to vote for McCain that they want to hear.
Not, be be clear, what she is actually saying, but what they want to think and believe she is saying to them.
She needs to understand that the human heart can have a dark side, a side that can be unleashed when someone is feeling frustrated and angry.
Hillary Clinton needs to admit that among her cheering and adoring supporters there are some who will need her to be at her persuasive best to convince them to resist their urge to punish Obama by trying to deny him the presidency.
There will be those who suggest that Hillary Clinton will allow her own darker impulses to jeopardize what she knows is best for America. I prefer to hold my own judgment in abeyance until we see what Hillary Clinton does when, as expected, Barack Obama’s delegate tally goes over the top.
Hal Brown has been a clinical social worker and psychotherapist since 1971. He often writes about politics and politicians from a psychological perspective.