Think About It: Political Castigating - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

October 27, 2016

Think About It: Political Castigating

As political campaigns locally and throughout the country wind up over the next 10 days or so, we hear assumptions about how this must truly be the nastiest presidential campaign ever.  On the local front, not so much, as the big races, of which we have far too few, have mostly been devoid of much controversy, enlightenment, accusations, or "oh wow" moments. But for the record, if you look back, all the way back, you'll see just how relatively normal this national election is compared to some pit bull fights in days of yore.

Like back in 1800, when a Vice President actually ran against a President. Thomas Jefferson hired a writer and  called John Adams a "hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman". Challenger Andrew Jackson said of incumbent John Quincy Adams' wife's maid in 1828 that she had been sold as a concubine to the Russian czar.  Adams said Jackson had the personality of a dictator and was too uneducated to rule, plus he and his cronies heaped all kinds of insults at Jackson's wife. Ah the good old days. Talk about uncouth campaigns!

Even venerable Abe Lincoln took potshots, referring to his 1860 challenger, Stephen Douglas, as "Little Giant", as Douglas stood 5'4". Lincoln claimed that Douglas was "about five feet nothing in height and about the same in diameter the other way". Douglas called Lincoln a "horrid-looking wretch, sooty, and scoundrelly in aspect", among other things. So relax a bit; the unseemly and venomous diatribe we hear this year is really nothing new. That doesn't make it better, it's just easier than ever to find chatter nowadays on TV, via texts, social media, just about anywhere. Good news? It's almost over, and then we can shower and clean up. Think about it…

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