I have short gray hair and I’m also over fifty. And I’m white and look good in a suit. So, unless I wore Obama apparel or paraphernalia I’d probably be allowed admission to a McCain rally, and permitted to stay there — at least until I started heckling him. My son on the other hand is of college age and looks it. What are the chances he’d be allowed to see McCain up close and personal? Apparently, not very good:

Audience members escorted out of Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., campaign event in Cedar Falls questioned why they were asked to leave Sunday’s rally even though they were not protesting.

David Zarifis, director of public safety for the University of Northern Iowa, said McCain staffers requested UNI police assist in escorting out “about four or five” people from the rally prior to McCain’s speech.

Zarifis said while the people who were taken out weren’t protesting or causing problems, McCain’s staff were worried they would during the speech. […]

Lara Elborno, a student at the University of Iowa, said she was approached by a police officer and a McCain staffer and was told she had to leave or she would be arrested for trespassing.

“It was a very confusing, very frustrating situation,” Elborno said. “I said that I had a right to be there, I wasn’t doing anything disruptive — I was sitting, waiting for the rally to start.”

She said McCain staffers wouldn’t tell her why she was being asked to leave and when she got outside, she saw “a group of about 20 people” who had all been asked to leave.

Elborno said after seeing the people who were asked to leave, she was concerned that McCain’s staffers were profiling people on appearance to determine who might be a potential protester.

“When I started talking to them, it kind of became clear that they were kind of just telling people to leave that they thought maybe would be disruptive, but based on what? Based on how they looked,” Elborno said. “It was pretty much all young people, the college demographic.”

Elborno said even McCain supporters were among those being asked to leave.

“I saw a couple that had been escorted out and they were confused as well, and the girl was crying, so I said ‘Why are you crying? and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’” Elborno said. “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”

Maybe this is why McCain and the GOP is down in the polls this year. Every step they take divides us as a nation. Content to preach to (and rile up) the choir, they show no inclination to reach out to anyone they deem a lost cause. And obviously they think young people are a lost cause. Because they didn’t wait to find out if any of these young folks were supporters (and let’s face it, there are young Republicans out there). No, they were too afraid of what might happen to allow them to remain for McCain’s stump speech, even though none of the “ejectees” had given any indication to anyone by their actions that they were other than peaceable, respectful citizens who wanted to hear what McCain had to say.

Instead, apparently the McCain campaign believes it is only safe for him to attend rallies where known McCain supporters — i.e., older white people accuse Obama of being a terrorist sympathizer or an “Arab” — make up the bulk of the audience rather than younger potential independent voters who may not have yet made up their mind about for whom they will vote. Because how can you know if someone will be a disruptive protestor or a supporter or a person willing to listen to the argument you will make for your candidacy based solely on what age group they fall into?

When a candidate’s campaign fears the people who bother to show up at his political rallies it tells me something about that candidate. What it tells me about John McCain is that he is either a coward or the world’s largest anus. It tells me he doesn’t trust Americans who show up to attend his rallies if they don’t fit the right demographic. And it tells me everything you need to know about why Obama is leading in the polls.

Obama wants to be President of the United States of America. Anyone can attend his rallies, even supporters of John McCain. He imposes no litmus test. McCain apparently wants to repeat the Bush years because obviously he’s running to be President of Americans who vote for Republicans, the only part of the United States the GOP cares about. The rest of us get kicked to the curb, literally.

That strategy worked for Karl Rove’s Permanent Republican majority (i.e., 50% + 1) in 2000, 2002 and 2004. But as 2006 showed, it ain’t working anymore. And it sure isn’t working in 2008. So keep throwing people out of your rallies John based on nothing more than how old they appear to be. And you other Republican candidates, please, please, follow Johnny Mac’s example of discrimination against and fear of your fellow Americans. See how far that gets you in the years to come.

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