Candidates begin to show ‘true colors’
Carrol Vertrees October 6, 2012 11:00PM
Updated: November 8, 2012 11:36AM
October may be the grandest, prettiest month of them all. My burning bush tells me so.
Even the sights and sounds of another big political season can’t tarnish this show of nature’s beauty. Those bushes and other autumnal delights give us something that politicians should copy — reliability and easy-to-understand messages.
This autumn show includes the corn and soybean fields — they are alive in Hoosierland, nonpartisan and unbreakably honest.
A nice headline in the paper the other day got it right: “Autumn Showing Its True Colors.” There is a lesson in that for all of us in this presidential derby.
Politics is not a bad word, but the shouters, the big spenders and the word merchants are spoiling the show. The two fellows running for president should have to speak for themselves, telling us what they stand for. They probably are getting too much expensive advice.
We have a collective weakness — we use selective listening, believing what our guy says, knowing that the other guy is not honest. Right?
So far, this has not been a memorably nasty campaign, but it is not over. The subtle dirty stuff is out there, just waiting.
It won’t be as bad as it was in early America, when Thomas Jefferson paid a writer to imply that John Adams was a person of both sexes. Davy Crockett accused Martin Van Buren of wearing women’s underwear.
Nixon’s veep, Spiro Agnew, railed at the media calling them “nattering nabobs of negativism.” Agnew had hired a clever writer to create jabs like that.
We have some of that silly nattering today on our preaching, shouting talk shows starring fellows who seem to think they are on a direct line with God. I checked that one, and they got a wrong number. That kind of noise adds only negativism to our important political contests.
Most listeners still cheer and clap because they believe. No matter which party we belong to, or none, we should not let ourselves be mesmerized by slick talk or clever snippets from a debate just because the right guy delivers them.
I wonder why we have this habit of emphasizing negativism. Why are we taken in by the nattering nabobs who are cultivating votes regardless of the truth? It is the easy way, I reckon, and because we like negative stuff, we get more and more of it.
I probably overdramatize this, but when I see how we, including me sometimes, enjoy negativism, I remember that Bill Shakespeare had a guy tell Brutus that “ … the fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves.”
I forget who it was, but in the last presidential election, some evangelical kind of guy tried to tell us what the “Christian vote” should be. It is happening again in e-mails and other correspondence. Are Christianity and patriotism synonymous, exclusive? Of course not. It is a faulty premise.
There is a great line in one of our hymns: “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love.”
Nothing negative about that one. It is a scary challenge, though. Do we believe it?