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Gentle reader, you have no doubt seen one or more of these signs and billboards somewhere in the county; possibly they are also being posted elsewhere, although we have been to Knoxville, Crossville, and Chattanooga in recent days and have not observed them any where else.
Who ever is behind these outrageous signs is totally ignorant of a tradition, founded both in good sense and good taste, that has prevailed in this country since the days before the Civil War: Neither political party impugns, denigrates, nor questions the patriotism nor love of country of the opposing party. Likewise it has been an almost sacrosanct tradition in partisan government that “Politics end at the water’s edge!”
The implication from these signs is that to vote Democratic is to endanger the very existence of the nation. It may well be, in view of developments, that a large Democratic vote may well endanger the Republican party, but not the Republic itself.
We have opined recently to some folks that we are unsure as to which is the more dangerous for the Republicans; for Romney to lose, or for Romney to win. Either one is likely to be parlous for the party. But more germane to the implication of these signs, we would ask those posting the signs to tell us from what danger they propose to save us? How is America endangered? Is there some foreign navy sailing towards our shores?, or is there some foreign army advancing from Mexico or Canada?, or are there hundreds of thousands of “frog men” ready to arise from the waters of the Gulf, the Atlantic, or the Pacific, and whence do they originate?
Obviously there is no such threat, and to presuppose that these or any other dangers pose an existential threat to our beloved country is to insult the intellect of most of us. No doubt there are some who are so ignorant, or even so stupid, as to believe that there is some such danger lurking behind every tree, shrub, or bush, but those of reasonable intellect know that it’s all balderdash, and scare tactics to try to gain an advantage that they cannot gain by facts and reason.
This manufactured patriotism makes one recognize the validity of the opinion expressed by Dr. Sam Johnson in 1775, when he said “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” To label the ones responsible for these cynical, arrogant, insulting, and thoroughly false signs as “scoundrels” is to be excessively kind. There are many other appellations which we could bestow upon them, but this is a family paper, and we try not to use that kind of language.
But, to return to the point - Democrats and the Democratic Party, are just as patriotic, and love this country just as much as Republicans and the Republican Party. (As an aside, have you noticed, learned reader, that so many Republicans, even ones with several learned degrees to their credit, are too stupid to realize that every time they write or speak about the “Democrat Party”, rather than the correct title of the “Democratic Party”, they are demeaning themselves and branding themselves as too ignorant to distinguish between a noun, Democrat, and an adjective, Democratic. They somehow seem to delight in this display of ignorance as though it somehow demeans Democrats and their party, when in fact it demeans those who perpetuate this error and their party by making them look juvenile, ignorant, or downright stupid.)
We have a great deal of affection and respect for the great majority of Republicans, even those of the far right in the TEA Party. They are basically fine folks who have been led astray in their political thinking, but are otherwise good people and good citizens. It is, we feel, a failing of those whose responsibility it was to see to their education that they did not do so. So much of their complaint lies in a failure to grasp, or even know, that so many of their misconceptions are just that — misconceptions.
One of the most glaring is the fact that they, beginning with Paul Ryan, and percolating throughout the party, do not understand that we have not been on the gold standard since the 1930s! Nor do they know that our money is no longer backed by any material thing of value, not gold, not silver, not diamonds, not pearls nor any thing else marketable, and there haven’t been any silver certificates printed in decades.
Even though they see it every time they take a bill from their billfold or purse, they do not read, or do not understand that our money is now strictly “Federal Reserve Notes”.
They also do not understand that a large percentage of our money does not even have a physical existence, being represented by book entry (or more accurately computer entry listings). For instance every time that a credit card is used, the money supply is expanded (and when it is paid off, the supply is contracted). This alone amounts to billions of dollars. There are numerous other instances which render the understanding of Ryan and company erroneous, and makes it dangerous to put them in charge of any thing having to do with money or credit, but this column is insufficient in space or time to try to explain all their shortcomings and rectify their ignorance.
Similarly, all these “financial conservatives” have either forgotten, or never took the trouble to learn, the basic concepts of public finance. For instance we of the old school learned, and recognized the validity of the methodology whereby the governmental authority in charge of budgeting, i.e. spending and taxation, would periodically (it used to be biennially, every two years, but has been changed from annually to decennially in some instances) decide that a certain amount of spending was required to meet the public needs for that period, and once this figure was determined they would then calculate the amount of taxes that were needed to be levied to meet that level of spending and the annual tax rate would be adjusted accordingly, just as it is presently done on the county level in Tennessee. The current state of ignorance has completely severed these two things — level of spending and level of taxation — when they should still be together.
In conclusion, as an old man who has in his 77 years witnessed more than half the life time of the republic, and as a patriotic American who knows that true patriotism lies in devotion to the republic, to its constitution, and to its ideals, not in mere flag-waving, slogan chanting loud-mouthed jingoistic display, we would advise everyone, but most especially our fellow citizens of the Republican persuasion that they exercise a bit of introspection and deliberation before judging the patriotism or good faith of any of their fellow countrymen.
If they truly love their country, and have the maturity and wisdom to try to participate in the governance of that country, they will speedily remove these offensive signs, and return to the best traditions of politics in this country and deal with their political opponents with respect consistent with the Lord Jesus’