The Obama Campaign Worker That Was Actually AssaultedOctober 25, 2008
With the Ashley Todd case looking as though it will live on in the memories of the more politically inclined of us, there is a case that was disregarded. The case was of a campaign worker in San Francisco who was, according to the police (who witnessed everything), slashed in the face by someone who disagreed with the candidate that the campaign worker supported. The worker wasn’t one of John McCain’s innocent little angels that have a mortal fear of anything colored beyond a slight mocha, but one of Barack Obama’s.
It was on August 28, San Francisco was under an excessive heat warning, the normal cooling off of the city by the cool ocean bay could only help so much. A worker for Senator Obama had received a permit to campaign in the city, and diligently had set up a table with pamphlets to help the cause just a little bit more.
San Francisco is wrongly considered a liberal bastion, impenetrable by anyone with even slightly conservative views. It has, in actuality, always been a battleground, of sorts, the more liberal majority only in the past thirty years taking hold on the cities policies. It is still contentious, and no ground is gained without conservative groups fighting what they perceive as the deviant and socialist tendencies of those that dream of a better world. The political landscape is just as foggy as the city’s weather, with only the sunny, more enlightened days getting highlighted by the conservative elements.
It was towards the end of the day on that overheated Thursday. A 35 year old guy had set up his campaign swag at 5th and Market, where people exit the Powell Street BART station, ready for a day of shopping at Nordstrom or to catch a movie at the Century Theatre. About five blocks from the bay, it must have made the dissipating heat all the more bearable.
A couple of cops overlooked the scene, watching the end of the rush home after a long workday, and the very beginnings of the busy Thursday shopping night. It’s probably somewhat of a cushy place to beat their feet, worrying more of jaywalking and shoplifters than violent crimes. This night had a surprise in store for the cops, which probably isn’t as uncommon as they’d like. The docile campaign worker handed out pamphlets, talked to those interested, and went about his small piece of the election cycle, hoping to do just a bit of good.
A man approached. A tantrum of hate, slurs, and verbal berating rained down upon the campaign worker, spewing forth from the pedestrian. The campaign worker, according to the cops who approached the scene and overheard the conversation, thanked the vitriolic man for his opinion, and calmly asked him to leave. He did–he walked away, but only for a short while. He would return to ruin everyone’s night.
Storming back, the man pulled out a knife before anyone could act. The steel blade, probably still warm from the day’s heat and the owners body, traced a path across the Obama campaign worker’s cheek. That very slight delay between a bleeding slash, and the skin being parted probably hung in time, like many shocking moments do. The campaign worker became a victim of divisive politics, after being polite and patient with someone trapped in a mindset unfit for rational discourse.
The police found the instinctive springs erupt in their joints, charging into action as the danger became clear. Their footfalls and heartbeats sped up, and if my experience with adrenaline is anything similar, the world’s noises hushed, and their target became the most vibrantly colored and focused object in their sights. They gained control of the man, but it’s unlikely they could control his hate.
One of the cops cuffed the perp, trapping the hand that wielded the steel blade in a steel of a different construction, one used to control rage, rather than let that rage explode into another’s flesh. The other cop, mindful of the blood and shock of the campaign worker, took him under their wing, rushing him to the hospital to tally the damage inflicted from a day meant to be spent informing the electorate, rather than becoming a symbol for the opponent’s attempts to wedge hate and fear within their hearts and souls.
In the wake of Ashley Todd’s false charge of some big, scary black man robbing her of money and political opinion, we should not only look at the misplaced passions that divisive politics creates, but also be mindful of the real victims that are out there, beyond the sensationalist push of McCain’s campaign. The politics of hate are still tumbling out of the mouth of John McCain, just as the politics of smear are bellowing from his running mate’s public address system and her frenzied crowds. This case should have been an early warning, but it went away just as fast as the swipe of the blade sliced the face of the Obama campaigner.
Please take a moment to Reddit and Digg this article, I’d appreciate it very much.