Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 30, 2012

WE THE PEOPLE: Bumps in the night

By Mary deWolf
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — It’s Halloween! A favorite with kids — plenty of candy and thrilling scares. Seems we don’t outgrow those joys. Few adults like to give up sweets, and, given the popularity of the radical right doom and gloom message, we also like to be frightened. Children eventually figure out that their bogeymen are not real. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the wisdom of children? Since our president took office in 2008, reactionary mouthpieces have predicted scary stuff that never happened. They’ve distracted us with mythical monsters, letting real demons thrive.

John McCain predicted a terrifying increase in gun control with Obama as president. Gun rights have expanded over the last four years. Tennessee Republican legislators have tried to make it legal to carry concealed weapons virtually everywhere. Has that kept us safer? Ask the folks in Arizona or Colorado where mentally ill citizens legally obtained guns and plenty of ammunition to wreak havoc on innocent people in shopping centers and movie theaters. If you were afraid of losing gun rights, relax. If you fear that the NRA is keeping ghouls on the street, your worries may be warranted.

Steve King, Republican representative from Iowa, proclaimed in 2008 that Al Qaida would celebrate President Obama’s election with dancing in the streets. Seems that group is, instead, burning our president in effigy for hunting down and killing their leader, Osama Bin Laden. Al Qaida is seriously weakened, thanks to our president. Scratch that fear off your list.

Dick Morris preached that the financial markets would drop precipitously while Trent Franks, Republican Arizona representative, portended that the economy would be “socialized.” Conservatives warned of “income redistribution,” implying that the rich might have to share with the rest of us. But since this president took office the market has enjoyed a very capitalistic rebound. Many Cumberland Countians, however, still face economic worries thanks to Congressional Republicans blocking attempts to require rich individuals and corporations to give a little of their gains back. Yes, there has been income redistribution, more redistributed from the 99% to the 1%.

In 2008 Newt Gingrich predicted that commentators like Rush Limbaugh would be silenced by President Obama. Hasn’t happened. But Rush’s foul mouth cost him several sponsors — with no help from the president. Thank goodness for Rush that the First Amendment is alive and well.

Some real adult fears include losing our jobs and concern that our children will not enjoy lives equal to, if not better than, ours. Under President Obama the national job picture is improving and affordable health care will be available for all. Under the Tennessee Republican regime unemployment has increased in recent months, education funding ranks 47th in the nation, and state childhood poverty levels are 38th compared to other states.

As you Trick or Treat with your children, and cast your votes, carefully consider who the real monsters are. And enjoy those Halloween sweets!