Dear Editor: A recent mailing marked “Paid for by Tripp Strickland” for Georgia is concerning, though perhaps not in the way it is intended.
The mailing presents an alarming narrative featuring a villain known as “They.” In a few short sentences, the villain is called by other names. In the order of appearance, the names are radical Democrats, violent rioters, anarchists, and finally, Marxists.
According to Mr. Strickland’s campaign They has quite a list of things it wishes to destroy, namely, our history, our shared history, and everything we have built.
As voters we are faced with at least three ways of interpreting candidate Strickland’s advertisement. One is to take Mr. Strickland at his word that he believes any attempt to examine history, any search for new meaning by closely examining or even questioning our founding narrative will destroy the country, and that the country is too fragile and brittle to hold up under its own gaze.
Another, less generous interpretation is that no, Mr. Strickland does not truly believe any of this, but voters do, therefore his campaign must contort itself into an us vs. them narrative to attract votes, and it’s the campaign that decides how to approach voters, not the candidate.
A final interpretation is that Mr. Strickland does not actually believe all Democrats are horrible people and in fact knows actual Democrats with whom he can debate respectfully, but has agreed to follow advice given by Tripp Strickland for Georgia and approved the ad against his better judgment.
Is there anything genuine in the Strickland campaign mailing, any effort made to say something significant, anything at all besides fear mongering? As it happens there is, a paraphrased line taken from the Declaration of Independence, which reads “As Americans we believe all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”
It is my genuine hope that should Tripp Strickland win his runoff election, and eventually win a seat in the Georgia House representing Georgia District 33, he will take those words and their meaning with him when he heads off to Atlanta. He might reflect too that nowadays we interpret the phrase all men to mean everybody.