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The Spores of Evil

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One of the big stories from the presidential campaign in recent days has been the upsurgence of ugly, hate-filled energy at the rallies of McCain and Palin.  The candidates, in their quest for power, have pitched their words to appeal to the fears and prejudices of their audiences.  And the several venomous outcries from their cries serve as manifestations of the fruit that such hate-oriented speech bears in receptive hearts and minds. 

At one level, all this can be interpreted in terms of the individuals who are making the choice to seek victory at whatever cost.  Better to "win ugly" than to lose with dignity and honesty, the conduct of these leaders clearly declares.

But at another level, this can be seen not in terms of mere individuals but as the playing out of vast forces in the cultural/political/moral/psychological system of American civilization.  In this vast perspective, the individuals who pursue their own aims are more fundamentally the channels for forces of which they may be only dimly aware.

In particular, the ugly course the McCain campaign has taken is a sign not just of John McCain's desperate ambition to be president but also as a last-ditch strategy of the forces of evil to bolster its position in the ongoing struggle between good and evil in America.

This idea of "the forces of evil" is, I know, not an easy one for many to accept.  That's particularly true in the more liberal components of contemporary America, where such notions are dismissed by some as vestiges of primitive religiosity.  Realizing that resistance, yet also believing that the crisis in America under the Bushites is best understood in terms of "the forces of evil," I undertook several years ago to articulate what I mean by "evil" and how I understand its workings.  The result was the essay, "The Concept of Evil:  Why It is Intellectually Valid and Spiritually and Politically Important" (at


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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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