Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Donít hide the Bibles


Citizens not only vote, they give money to candidates, make phone calls and knock on doors. They are especially motivated to do so by fear, especially fear that losing will mean an attack on sacred beliefs and precious possessions. Fear is a great way to run campaigns.

In the bitter election of 1800, Federalist John Adams faced Democratic Republican Thomas Jefferson, his colleague from their days in the Second Continental Congress. Both men were well known from decades of public service. That hardly mattered. Adams’ supporters forecast doom if the electorate chose Jefferson and his party. The president of Yale, Pastor Timothy Dwight, harangued crowds with the dire warning that if the Jeffersonians won, “The Bible would be cast into a bonfire, our holy worship changed, our wives and daughters dishonored.” Why stop there? “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of distress, the soil will be soaked with blood, the nation black with crimes.” Of course, it was nonsense. Jefferson was elected. Holy writ remained safe. There was no casting of Bibles into the fire.

In 2008, voters were warned that if elected, Barack Obama would confiscate guns. There was no such plan, no evidence of any intention of a plan, no steps toward initiating a plan, no subsequent confiscations, but the charge was so effective, the fear so real, that President Obama’s victory in 2008 was followed by more than 374,000 requests for background checks on gun purchasers. 

Today, legislators and governors, mostly Republican, seem convinced that hordes of illegitimate operatives await an opportunity to sweep down on unsuspecting polling places and take over ballot boxes. A rolling tide of stricter, sometimes oppressive, voter identification laws has swept through the states since 2005. Since then, frauds have been uncovered in Florida and Indiana, committed in both cases by Republican election officials themselves. Hidden by the fear is the reality of little fraud and a shortage of illegal hoards. 

Fear mongering in this year’s campaigns, as in 1800 and in 2008 and in many of the elections in between, is creating scenarios that are the stuff of nightmares. Voters would do well to keep in mind the story of the little boy sitting in the street banging pans together to scare off tigers. When informed that there were no tigers within thousands of miles, he answered, “See how well it works?”

So, listen to the scary predictions, bang some pans together, but trust that, although there are real differences among candidates, none are tigers in disguise




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



-->
 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.