IS IT REALLY that surprising that Bill Clinton's vice president continues to divide this nation along racial, class, economic and gender lines?
Al Gore is a totally amoral politician who appears poised to do about anything to be president. And all too many in his Democratic Party seem content to bend or break the law or wallow in demagoguery to "help the cause."
In circles I travel, many people who are essentially apolitical or rarely utter a controversial opinion say they are becoming totally alienated and disgusted with Gore's deceit and divisiveness.
This is reflected in polls showing a growing majority of Americans want Gore to concede the presidential election to George W. Bush.
The demonstrators marching outside the vice president's mansion, as well as the protesters at Democrat-dominated Florida county courthouses, have every right to be angry. The Democrat election officials weren't counting votes in those Democrat-leaning counties, they were creating them. We all saw it on TV.
As author/commentator Peggy Noonan points out, "most thieves have enough respect to rob a house when it is empty, but in this case the thieves are stealing while the country is home, watching."
HAVE YOU noticed, too, that many Democrats and their media allies, in helping Gore try to steal the election, have ratcheted up their attacks beyond all previous bounds?
Democratic operative Paul Begala instructs fellow partisans to suggest Republicans and conservatives draw their political strength from murderers, sadists and racists.
Then there's the tried and true tactic of the personal smear. Consider just one target - Katherine Harris, Florida's duly-elected secretary of state who certified Bush's Florida win. She is hit with epithets ranging from "vamp" to Communist "commissar." A Washington Post reporter basically described her as a painted-up whore. "One wonders how this Republican woman, who can't even use restraint when she's wielding a mascara wand, will manage to ... make sound decisions," was the last cheap shot.
Furthermore, Jesse Jackson and other black Democrats have perfected the constant playing of the "race card" against white opponents, but especially against the predominantly white Republican Party.
JACKSON, OF course, led screaming marchers in Palm Beach complaining about blacks being somehow deprived of their vote. Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile said with a straight face that, "in disproportionately black areas, people faced dogs, guns and were required to have three forms of ID." Of course, there's not a shred of evidence to back this up. In fact, blacks cast 16 percent of Florida's vote this year, up from 10 percent in 1996.
But those who fight back against such propaganda - from President-elect Bush on down - are labeled "extremists," "racists," "haters" or - my favorite - "divisive."
I got a kick out of a letter to the editor from Sen. Charles Walker, D-Augusta, as well as a hysterical editorial in his newspaper labeling this columnist "divisive." What a joke. Check the back issues of his Augusta Focus and review all the personal attacks over two decades against business and political leaders with whom he has disagreed. (Even the liberal Atlanta Journal-Constitution had enough of Walker when it asked, "how long a Democratic governor and legislature will keep winking at the Senate majority leader's disregard for law and ethics?")
The attempt by those on the political Left to smear opponents into silence is the same strategy as that of the desperados in the old West who bullied the townsfolk until they just hid in their homes.
In coming days, those of us disgusted with where our country is headed ought to seek out neighbors and co-workers. Take time with them to discuss how and why our nation has become so divided. Rebut all the usual attacks from the usual suspects. All too many times they are unanswered, leaving a great many unaware of "the other side of the story."
In spite of being called divisive or extreme, it is not wrong to fight back. It is right to yell "Fire!" when our American home is being torched.
MORE AMERICANS must be enlisted to help save and restore our constitutional rule of law and our freedoms. The Livid Left will laugh, but if we are to win this latest fight against blatant deceit and demagoguery, then love of God, country and truth must be our motivation and ultimate goal.
Phil Kent is senior editorial writer for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3327 or firstname.lastname@example.org