The dishonesty of the narrative about Mr. Obama during the campaign went a step further with its assumption that if you can place two people in the same room at the same time, or if you can show that they held a conversation, shared a cup of coffee, took the bus downtown together or had any of a thousand other associations, then you have demonstrated that they share ideas, policies, outlook, influences and, especially, responsibility for each other’s behavior. There is a long and sad history of guilt by association in our political culture, and at crucial times we’ve been unable to rise above it.
Demonization, guilt by association, and the politics of fear did not triumph, not this time. Let’s hope they never will again. And let’s hope we might now assert that in our wildly diverse society, talking and listening to the widest range of people is not a sin, but a virtue.
demonize(dē'mə-nīz') tr.v., -ized, -iz·ing, -iz·es.
- To turn into or as if into a demon.
- To possess by or as if by a demon.
- To represent as evil or diabolic: wartime propaganda that demonizes the enemy.
guilt by association Note: click on a word meaning below to see its connections and related words.
The noun has one meaning:
Meaning #1: the attribution of guilt (without proof) to individuals because the people they associate with are guilty