Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Dangers Of Fanaticism

We are two weeks from the midterm election today, an election that may have far more importance in the future than we know at this present time.

As we hope you've gleaned from our other writings, no one on the Daily Felltoon staff believes that government is worthless or should be destroyed, unlike many in the Tea Party and on the extreme right. Nor do we think government should do everything for everyone. There is a balance, a place in the middle where people of different sides can agree on many things. If nothing else, we can usually agree to disagree.

Than again, none of us are fanatics.

While there are no fanatical candidates with any serious chance of winning in any geographical areas near us, there are plenty of fanatical candidates running this year in races throughout the country. What concerns us most is about these candidates is that they don't seem to know what the laws they'll be working with actually say - and they don't seem to care.

As syndicated columnist Frank Rich pointed out earlier this week, the media continues focusing on the insanity of Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell, or the bigoted Carl Paladino who uses violence as a threat, or even the Ayn Rand acolyte, Rand "Aqua Buddha" Paul. Yet there are other candidates who truly represent a clear and present danger to the ability of our government to govern going forward.

Over the weekend, after a debate held on public property, at a public school in Alaska, a reporter for an online news outlet followed Mr. Miller. The reporter was still in the public school, on public property, and well within his rights. The reporter did what reporters do - intensely continue questioning the subject, until the subject gets away. Mr. Miller's private security guards had other ideas, however - and they handcuffed the reporter, claiming they had the right to arrest him. Further, as other reporters began covering the detainment of the first reporter, candidate Miller's guards began getting needlessly physical with other reporters.

Leaving aside the appalling hubris and disregard of the law required for a private security firm to claim it has the powers of the police, ignoring for a moment the illegal detention and assault of private citizens - reporters or not - there is a reason that freedom of the press - the media, these days - is one of the items explicitly enshrined in our First Amendment.

When you go to the voting booth in two weeks - or if you're filling your ballot out right after you hop offline - some of the key items American citizens need to know are who the candidates really are, what their opinions are on important issues, and what their character tells us about how they might vote on future issues.

As we've said repeatedly, while we hope everyone votes, we also hope that everyone is well educated on all issues and well informed on all candidates appearing on their ballot. The only way a person becomes that way is through the effort of hard working journalists and members of the media.

Any candidate for public office who thinks that attacking the media is an acceptable campaign tactic has a lot more to learn about the United States.
Starting with the First Amendment.

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