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Day By Day: Tall tales and the truth are always a tricky combination

Oh my--where to begin.

My colleague's column last week has put me in mind of several things including the "Really ?" sketch from Saturday Night Live, some grim Wisconsin history and several old children's stories.

Let's start with "Really?" I'm not thinking the communist threat is all that real and we really don't need to be all that worried considering that Russia and China both seem to be embracing capitalism, especially fast food and cars, in such a big way. The only real manifestations of anything socialist in this country would have to be Social Security and Medicare and it seems that is the one thing that most people in America seem to agree on - hands off those two socialist programs.

All this fear about a Communist threat puts me in mind of that grim Wisconsin history I mentioned. I was not born in Wisconsin but I have lived most of my life here since I was 14. I have always been at home here with its agricultural foundation, its working class ethics and its progressive politics. Even as those politics have changed, I figure it is all part of how things play out in a democracy. I never thought I would be reminded of the dark days in our state's history that were dominated by the bombastic, fear monger who was the late Sen. Joe McCarthy.

McCarthy got plenty of traction before it became clear he was a nut job but I'm hoping we all have learned enough not to let that ever happen again. If he were around today, he would be relegated to the "talking heads" circuit. Who knows, maybe he's been reincarnated in Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck. The bottom line is that those days are a bad dream for Wisconsin and that kind of thinking just doesn't make sense in the real world most of us live in.

That brings me to those fairy tales. Considering the long list of things my colleague fears, I couldn't help but think of the story of Henny Penny who ran around telling anyone who would listen that "the sky is falling, the sky is falling." It wasn't then and it isn't now.

I'm thinking an explanation of all this fear might be found in of all things a tea party. Lewis Carroll created quite bunch of radical thinkers at the Mad Hatter's tea party of "Alice in Wonderland" fame. Could it be that that kind of thinking has invaded the most current group of tea partiers? While what they are thinking makes total sense to them, it sounds anything but sensible to the rest of us? What's in that tea?

Maybe it would be better if people who are so fearful of all these imagined threats took a powder like "Sleeping Beauty" and awaited being awakened by a rich handsome prince until it is all better again - Donald Trump maybe?

The truth is that our country is a strong one and our constitution makes it so. No unsubstantiated accusations or Communist boogey man stories will change that. For all the imagined rights that are at risk according to some, there isn't any evidence that's what's happening. I expect to be voting in elections like the one this week and reading columns like my colleague's until I die. It's all that free speech nonsense you know.

I kind of think of it like the brick house one of those "Three Little Pigs" built. These people can huff and puff and cry wolf all they want but they will not blow down this big brick house our constitution built or the free thinkers on all sides who live here.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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