With just six days to go, I think far-right social conservatives are running out of names to call their opponents, but don’t underestimate the power of nasty.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), in her first attempt to be re-elected, is running an ad calling her opponent "Godless" because she accepted money from an organization of American voters who organized legally to express themselves politically and are atheist. Kay Hagan is not atheist, but she is running for office to represent all Americans, including atheists. Apparently Liddy Dole is not.
Disagree as I might politically with Dole, I never thought she would stoop so low, she didn’t seem like that kind of politician. Then again, her husband knows a thing or two about dirty tricks. In his first bid for re-election in Kansas, in 1974, he was in a very close race with popular Congressman Dr. Bill Roy, an ob/gyn, and in the last days before the election Bob Dole delivered photos of aborted fetuses in the form of door hangers into heavily Catholic precincts. Bob Dole won because tactics like that, then, were shocking.
After 35 years of far-right tactics that demean the intelligence of voters, one can hope the voters of North Carolina won’t fall for such a desperate ploy, and judge the candidates on their records. Dole has now used this "Godless" attack in mailers, online video and on television.
Here’s what fact-checking journalists in North Carolina have to say:
Some readers may be left with the impression that Hagan supports the
PAC’s position on the Pledge of Allegiance, Christmas and the Boy
Scouts — or that Hagan is an atheist.
Hagan’s campaign said Hagan does not support removing "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Hagan is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro.
does not support eliminating the Christmas holiday. Her family often
spends part of Christmas morning at a home for severely handicapped
people, where they cook breakfast, wash dishes and play Santa Claus to
relieve the home’s staff.
Hagan’s son is an Eagle Scout. Her
campaign said that while Hagan opposes discrimination, she believes
questions about who can be troop leaders is a decision for the Boy
Scouts, not Washington, to make.
Is the mailer accurate?
Yes and no. Hagan did attend the fundraiser in question. But the mailer
incorrectly suggests that Hagan shares the view of the Godless
Americans PAC on the Pledge of Allegiance, Christmas and the Boy
A larger question for all Americans is, regardless of your beliefs, do atheists have rights as citizens? Isn’t America about debating different ideas, in civil discourse, to determine the direction of the country? Faith that is threatened by the opinion of another isn’t really faith at all, it is fear.
Unfortunately Dole has revealed herself to be part of a pattern this election cycle. Rep. Michelle Bachmann called for an investigation into un-American activities by liberals in Congress. Sen. Barack Obama has been accused of consorting with terrorists, infanticide, and being Muslim, as if being Muslim is something of which to be ashamed. Gov. Sarah Palin called Obama a Communist and Sen Joe Biden was asked by a local TV anchorwoman (married to a GOP consultant) why Obama isn’t Marxist because of his proposed tax cuts to 95 percent of Americans. Angry mobs yell epithets and threats at McCain-Palin rallies and the campaign does little to stop them.
As Americans we should stand up for the rights of all Americans to be heard. As a person of faith, I will stand up for the rights of atheists to be heard as well, and am not the least bit threatened by ensuring they have rights. Those who will demean or take rights away from any group, will eventually try to take them away from you.
This is the far-right social conservative notion of civil discourse and how they define thier faith and love of country. This is what they propose we all live in when they talk about a "Christian Nation."
Fascinating, isn’t it?
See also: Culture of Lies: Strategies and Tactics.