I sidled up to one of the Obama supporters and asked why they were there, what
they were trying to accomplish. As he was telling me a large, bearded man in
full McCain-Palin campaign regalia got in his face to yell at him.
"Hey, hey, " I said. "I'm trying to interview him. Just a minute, okay? "
The man began to say something about how of course I was interviewing the Obama people when suddenly, from behind us, the sound of a pro-Obama rap song came blaring out of the windows of a dorm building. We all turned our heads to see Obama signs in the windows.
This was met with curses, screams and chants of "U.S.A" by McCain-Palin folks who crowded under the windows trying to drown it out and yell at the person playing the stereo.
It was a moment of levity in an otherwise very tense situation and so I let out a gentle chuckle and shook my head.
"Oh, you think that 's funny?! " the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. "Yeah, that 's real funny…" he said.
And then he kicked the back of leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.
Meanwhile, staffers at ACORN are facing increasing harassment, vandalism, and death threats. Considering the near-endless media propaganda by the Republican Party machine - talk radio, Fox News, and the McCain campaign itself - there should be little surprise.
The incidents came the day after McCain charged in the final presidential debate
that ACORN's voter-registration drive "may be perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history" and may be "destroying the fabric of democracy."
McCain's comments provoked a response from ACORN. "I would not say that Senator McCain is inciting violence," Kettenring said, "but I would say that his statements about the role of this manufactured scandal were totally outlandish. We would call on Senator McCain to tamp down the fringe elements in his party."
McCain's campaign didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kettenring said that ACORN had received growing amounts of hate mail in recent weeks, but "the campaign debate sort of tipped it over to a scary point, where raising allegations of voter fraud went from a cynical campaign ploy to really inciting racial violence."
Since McCain's remarks, ACORN's 87 offices across the country have received hundreds of hostile e-mails, many of them containing racial slurs, Kettenring said. "We believe that these are specifically McCain supporters" sending the messages, he said.
The e-mail to the Cleveland employee was traced to a Facebook Web page in the name of a Baltimore man. It featured a photo of a McCain-Palin sign.
Kettenring said that the bulk of the e-mails had been either "flat-out racist" or had racial overtones. Most of the group's 400 members and about 80 percent of the 13,000 voter-registration canvassers are African-American or Latino.
The hardcore conservative base is constantly being told that a black muslim terrorist is stealing their election, with the help of their terrorist friends. Add in the economic turmoil and the collapse of their party and ideology, and there will be repercussions.
There will be blood.