However, with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, the problem I saw in that question is brought to its ugliest conclusion. The term bitch was used as a sexist slur, but it was also used to dehumanize a candidate for US president. Combine dehumanizing with the unspoken imperative, "We must beat the bitch, but how?" and our homegrown terrorists can feel like they've been given a holy mission if Hillary gets her party's nomination and seems like she has a great shot at winning the general election.
John McCain was caught off guard but he could have kept his response light while rejecting that harmful label. He stands for ethics, but failed that day to do just that.
He could have said, "By focusing on issues not character assassination."
But if the anti-Hillary crowd was in the mood for blood it's possible that those in that crowd could have figuratively turned on McCain. That danger alone tells us something about the mood of those who cheer the dehumanization of others.
I remember at an early age learning that President Kennedy had been assassinated and I remember Bobby Kennedy being assassinated and I remember what seemed like countless civil rights murders. With a few horrific exceptions we seemed to have pulled ourselves from that time of terrorism, but there will always be those who are tempted to take the law and elections into their own hands.
We can't afford to give them an inch toehold.