Political thoughts on Halloween
At Halloween time, our children dress up in their scariest costumes, but if they’re too scared, the masks can always come off. Teenagers go to the movie theater for their fright, but as terrifying as a horror movie may be, the kids can always just head back to the lobby “for some popcorn and soda” until they’ve calmed down.
Some are afraid of the dark; they can just turn on the light. Some are afraid of the neighborhood; they can invest in a burglar alarm system, or move to where it’s safer. So many of the fears we have can be easily assuaged, by a light-switch or a change of scenery.
But there are some fears that are all too real, and we’re reminded of them too, each Halloween. Because Halloween comes before the 1st Tuesday in November, a time when genuine fears rise to primacy in the public consciousness.
The False Fears of the Left
The American Left is known for demonizing their foes, for poisoning the minds of their gullible audiences with bigotry and lies.
Jeb Bush, for example, famously lost his gubernatorial election in 1994 in a squeaker, because of the Florida Democratic Party’s final-weekend robocalls telling the senior citizens of Florida that if elected, Jeb Bush would take away their Social Security. Never mind that he never said any such thing, or that as governor he wouldn’t have had the power to affect that federal program even if he’d wanted to. All it took was the suggestion for gullible seniors on the fence to fall for this irrational fear.
The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests have taken class warfare to a new level. Confronted by a world in recession, these college students, unemployed or underemployed graduates, union thugs, vagrants, and socialist activists are afraid of a “repressive” society in which they cannot accumulate college loan debt without paying it back, in which they cannot drive a BMW unless they are successful enough to buy one, in which they are not guaranteed Manhattan condos or Winnetka mansions upon college graduation, but rather must work and succeed in the business world first. They fear the real world, and lash out at the successful, and at the establishment, and at the standards of decorum and personal hygiene, as a result.
Like primitive people throughout ancient times, the left fears what they cannot understand, and what science cannot control, so they invent responses, or imagine villains to blame. They don’t know why one year is warmer than another, so they invent a false science in which the cars we drive or the hairspray we use or the Styrofoam packing in our landfills all contribute to change the weather from cool to tropical, to change the oceans from low to high. They call it Global Warming, or Climate Change, and recruit gullible reporters and schoolteachers to teach it as fact and give the public one more thing to be afraid of.
Irrational fears have no place in a rational society.
The very real fears of a nation in crisis
This is not to say, however, that we have nothing to fear. Our nation, our culture, and our world are always confronted with challenges, some easily manageable, others difficult, still others impossible to overcome. The obligation of a free people is to identify and understand them, to campaign to correct what can be corrected, and to minimize the risk from the threats that cannot.
We have good cause to fear the dangers of foreign affairs. The lesson of Carter is that a bad president’s economic errors can be corrected in time, but a bad president’s foreign policy errors can do irrevocable harm to the entire world. Carter’s missteps caused an unchecked Cuba to foment revolution from Central America to Africa. Though Reagan beat Castro’s sponsor, the USSR, and supported the world’s freedom fighters whenever he could, the damage done in just a few years by the spread of Soviet/Cuban advisors caused tens of thousands of deaths around the globe, and locked millions more into the torment of inescapable socialist poverty.
Today we see Barack Obama making the same mistakes in the foreign policy arena. He has favored the islamists in their contests with Jews and Christians, favored the socialists in their contests with capitalists, favored the criminals in their contests with the law. When it has been a choice of two villains, his administration has always managed to choose the worse of the two: supporting the Muslim Brotherhood against Qaddafi; sharia law against western jurisprudence, the Greek debtor nation against the responsible European nations in the EU. This president’s foreign policy missteps are indeed terrifying to foreign policy watchers; our fears here are genuine indeed.
This president’s domestic errors should also scare any conscious observer. His appointments to the courts oppose our Constitution; his executive orders first wink, then laugh out loud, at the lines between congressional and executive authority, with minimum pushback from the legislators he thus emasculates. President Obama has used the printing presses of the treasury not just to buy votes, but to empower the unions against America’s manufacturing community, to empower communist groups like ACORN and the New Black Panthers against traditional communities and the rule of law, to empower corrupt lobbyists against the people at large. Is this a trend to fear? Of course it is. Only a madman or fool can sleep soundly these days.
We also have good reason to fear the economic torment of this nagging recession, now in its fourth year. They’ve redefined the statistics they use, so they can call it a sluggish recovery instead, to avoid admitting the truth. But there it is, for all to see: four years of plunging home values… four years of rampant commercial and personal bankruptcies… four years of banks, dealerships, and factories being shuttered on orders of the federal government… four years of high domestic unemployment, admitted to be stuck at nine percent, but practically in the high teens when those forced into early retirement, the longterm unemployed, and the wildly underemployed are taken into account.
An economy in which great salesmen and buyers, engineers and designers, accountants and marketers, inventors and entrepreneurs, are stuck working at chain stores for minimum wage, because the marketplace for their kinds of jobs has shrunken by fifteen to twenty percent, is indeed good reason to terrify anyone.
A solution, and yet more fears
Luckily, we have in this country a Constitution, which limits the damage our elected officials can do… but only if it is obeyed. So there’s another reason to fear: will the Constitution’s clear limitations ever be enforced again? Will we overthrow the violators on election day, or perhaps even impeach them beforehand? Will we replace the current crop in the White House next year, or will we fail?
And this brings us to the greatest fears for watchers of America’s politics today. Will we nominate the right people in 2012, or will our horrific national primary system again lead to the nomination of the worst candidate rather than the best? Will the candidates of the Right campaign boldly and proudly, using the election to educate forgetful Americans about how our system can work, and indeed must work… or will they run a Karl Rove campaign, focusing on turnout techniques and short-term numbers instead of campaign techniques that educate the voters and realign the nation? Will our legislators and our law enforcement agencies crack down on vote fraud, or will they allow elections to be stolen again by community organizers and corrupt big city machines?
These are our fears, both on Halloween and every day. Only time will tell if we can conquer our fears by conquering their causes.
The Framers gave us a brilliant system. If obeyed, the Constitution would have prevented so many of our modern threats. To overcome these very legitimate fears, all we need is to return to the wisdom of our Founders, and bask in the confidence and optimism of the safe and prosperous nation that will result.
November 2012 can’t come soon enough.
Copyright 2011 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade lecturer. A former county chairman of the Milwaukee County GOP - whose parents met, in fact, at a 42nd Ward Young Republican Club Halloween party - John has now been a recovering politician for over 14 years, but he still puts on a politician costume and scares his neighbors by walking precincts at election time.
Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included. Follow me on LinkedIn or Facebook!