Surviving the scary season
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, October 30, 2014


“Hold the dark holiday in your palms,
Bite it, swallow it, and survive,
Come out the far black tunnel of El Dia de Muerte
And be glad, oh so glad you are ... alive!”

— “The Halloween Tree,” by Ray Bradbury

Halloween has been my favorite holiday since childhood. There is something about facing, in a fun, candy-filled holiday way, the terrors that live just underneath the surface of humanity. In his children’s book “The Halloween Tree,” Ray Bradbury shows us how it began:

“A million years ago, in a cave in autumn, with ghosts inside heads, and the sun lost ...” on to Egyptian mummies and then Samhain himself, with his flashing scythe — then irrational hysteria, hanging “witches.” Everywhere, terror and death.

Bradbury said, in 1972, that this is why we dress our children as cavemen, ghosts, skeletons, mummies and witches, when once a year we face the darkness of our fears for them and ourselves.

Well, missing that point, some children show up at my door as pop stars and Disney princesses. My granddaughter, somewhat more appropriately, will be the Black Widow from “The Avengers” this year. Her twin brother, however, will be a bunny.

He denies it, but I fear this has something to do with the last family visit, when my cat killed a rabbit and the decaying body was found under the shoe rack in the hall.

My son and I read “The Halloween Tree” for the first time when he was 8; he “gets” it and just texted me a photo of himself as scary skull-headed Death, applying makeup to kids’ faces for a middle-school event.

In recent years, I’ve enjoyed writing my election-year Halloween columns, telling readers about the creatures I expect to see in my front yard come nightfall on October 31. One regular has been the Vampire Letstax, whom I created (after reading the Anne Rice books about the Vampire Lestat) when Massachusetts politicians were once again threatening to drink our blood, one tax bracket at a time, with a graduated income tax.


Letstax has returned, accompanied by Martha Croakley, who wants to fund her vision of state government with the grad tax, or at least that’s what she said until someone told her voters have rejected this bright idea five times on the ballot. So now Letstax and Croakley are trick/treating with support for automatic gas taxes — not to mention letting noncitizens vote in local override elections.

Oh, look, here to formally endorse her is Hellary Clinton, channeling Sen. Warren, screeching her disdain for people who create jobs and their own lives: “Don’t let anybody ... tell you that, um, you know ... it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” Yes, we can imagine what the economy would look like if government ran it: wait, we don’t have to imagine it, look at what Count Barackula did with BarackulaCare. What a horror show that rollout was! Did any of our congressional delegation read the bill before they voted for it?

We know that Nancy Belagosi didn’t read it; she bragged about waiting until it becomes law to find out what’s in it. Soon after that, she lost her job as House Speaker when Republicans became the majority there. This election, her partner-in-horror, Hairy Wolfman Reid, will be deposed as Senate majority leader should Republicans also take over the Senate.

But enough fun. I just got an email from the National Taxpayers Union: During the first session of the 113th Congress, for the first time in history, the House had an average score over 50 percent for three consecutive years, reflecting commitment to controlling federal spending, taxes, debt and regulations. Bad news: The median rating for the Senate was just 17 percent, so nothing much got done. I’m voting for Brian Herr for U.S. Senate next week.

Another scary thing lurking in my yard: the campaign ads, or more accurately, the possibility that voters actually make decisions based on 30-second pieces of propaganda. The worst this year is the Seth Moulton ad attacking Richard Tisei for voting against veterans because he voted against the budget that contained the sales tax increase from 5 to 6.25 percent. There haven’t been enough Republicans in decades to actually stop a budget, so veterans were never threatened, but that doesn’t stop Moulton from trying to mislead the voters he wants to represent.

I wondered when he won the primary if he’d be able to resist the Democratic Party’s playbook of attacking all Republicans as right-wing extremists. Well, I just saw the latest Moulton ad, attacking gay, pro-choice Tisei as a right-wing extremist. During The Salem News’ 6th Congressional District debate, Moulton’s similar live attack caused independent Chris Stockwell to correct him, saying simply: “Tisei is a moderate.”

Thanks, Chris. This doesn’t change the fact, though, that independents are gray ghosts who can’t win themselves but can help elect the worse of the red and blue party candidates.

I’m trying to enjoy my dark holiday, with my Halloween game of naming the creatures in my yard, but the truth is, I am genuinely scared of what the world is becoming. This is the year we must choose our leaders for their competence, experience and honesty, so we can exit the dark tunnel created by our country and commonwealth’s recent political mistakes.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle-Tribune newspapers.

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