We are quickly approaching the day when Americans will determine the future makeup of our Houses of Congress and choose the next POTUS. The season for political blackmail and yellow journalism is now in full swing. Already, we open our newspapers and are greeted with the non-news that freshman Rep Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) took a dip in the Sea of Galilee sans his britches. Some media outlets are quick to note the skinny-dipping episode took place in the location where Jesus walked on the water. Yowsa! And yet, the man was not struck by lightning. Zzzzz.
By tradition, October is the absolute best of months to enjoy our political sideshows. We wait with glee, the ‘October surprise’. Each partisan/patriot keeps the naughtiest of news regarding their opponent close to the chest until October. So if candidate ‘A’ knows about a tawdry and illicit affair between candidate ‘B’ and his college math professor 30 years ago, the news is best delivered in October. Lewd photographs will suddenly appear. Steamy love letters will be released. And the dumpy former mistress who no longer counts as prime real estate will stage a news conference with a lawyer she cannot afford. October is when we will find out if our squeaky-clean candidate licked LSD off a postage stamp while in college or distributed marijuana to his classmates. It is the month when we savour the news that our candidate shoplifted a candy bar in elementary school and spray-painted a neighbour’s cat bright purple. Satan’s little helpers are busy combing through high school yearbooks, interviewing school classmates and hanging out in small towns hoping to catch any whiff of foul gossip.
The best of the dirt is heaped in a pile and dumped on the voters in October. The politicians know us well. We are Americans, and as such, we are a fairly forgiving lot on many issues. If we receive a bit of vile news in August or September, we will have moved on or possibly not even care by the time we head to the polls. If our political scoundrel has a wife who stands with him in the face of an adultery charge, we will turn on the hapless mistress for destroying a happy home. She will be reduced to selling her story to People magazine. If the LSD trip was a fluke, or in fact, the media is too mean-spirited in their rant, we will resolutely cast our vote in traditional manner.
Thus far, the ‘Liberati’ are having a tough time trouncing Mitt Romney’s vice presidential choice. There seems to be a paucity of dirt to be had on Paul Ryan. His family biography touches our heart. He lost his father on the cusp of adulthood. He has what appears to be an intact and loving family unit of his own. He speaks well and is careful in his delivery. His style is that of a man who researches the facts and he is a bit of a policy wonk.
The New York Times continues to hammer away with their favourite script about extremist views and the extremist vision of the Republican Party. The newly minted vice presidential candidate took his initial hit from The New York Times with this sub-header: “With no plan of his own, Mr Romney cannot distance himself from Mr Ryan’s extremist vision.”
Naturally, believing that babies are blessings and deserve a shot at life is not an extremist view. Killing babies is extreme. Holding fast to the conviction that marriage is a covenant union blessed by God for purposes of procreation is not extreme. Civilisations across all epochs recognise the beautiful pattern of the gathering of our generations around a patriarch and matriarch. This is not a ‘generational issue’ as noted by one man. History beckons us to maintain societal health.
Holding the government accountable for enforcing existing immigration law is definitely not an extremist view. We should expect that our own progeny are deserving of a decent wage and employment. Stepping into a job previously held by a deported illegal immigrant is a good start. Responsible gun ownership is not an extremist posture. We will allow no infringement on our right to exercise the freedom of gun ownership for self-defence and hunting. The Liberati would have us believe that Baptist grandmothers are smuggling hollow-point bullets in their knock-em-dead homemade banana pudding to paramilitary thugs hiding in the woods of east Texas. But I digress....
When all is said and done, all of the traps sprung, with the October surprises all lined up for our delighted view, what do I believe will be the outcome? This will be an election that will provide some startling results, and indeed, a ‘November surprise’. Romney and Ryan might make it to the White House if they develop a bunker buster political model. They must speak clearly and without apology. Regardless, my nation will show a noticeable movement to the right in our Congressional picks. State-by-state, citizens are seeking less federal control and more regional options on issues of governance. Abortion is increasingly being restricted. Many Americans believe that life is a gift from God and only springs forth at His command. State-by-state, laws are being promulgated to challenge the neglect of the federal branch to enforce existing immigration laws. And for sure, in the land of mile-high meringue pies and southern charm, there are plenty of patriotic and law-abiding citizens unwilling to move the line on gun ownership.
This election results will depend in strong part on the ability of bloggers to raise the bar professionally and fuel the regional grassroots movements that drive citizens to the polls. But sadly, I have noted as much partisanship and lack of professionalism within the ranks of some of the power bloggers. The excessive use of adjectives prevails, even as The New York Times coddles the words extremists and extremism to decimate their political enemies. May freedom of press function in a responsible manner. May democracy be healthy.
The writer is a freelance journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org