The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 25, 2012

Candidates should ditch rancor

Staff Writer
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — As a proud American, I’ve exercised my right to vote since I became 20. The first president I voted for was Jimmy Carter, who lost to Ronald Reagan. I wasn’t tuned in to politics back then, therefore, I definitely didn’t watch any of the debates. All I knew was that I was a registered Democrat and I was going to vote Democrat.

Thirty-one years later, I’m 51-years-old and I have participated in every  presidential election and I’m much more in-tune to politics — I care about the future of the United States. Had I known back then what I know now, I would have voted outside my party for the Republican — Ronald Reagan — who is arguably one of the best presidents the United States has ever had.

President Reagan had an aura that made Republicans as well as Democrats gravitate toward him and he had the smarts to produce policies that were best for out nation and both parties agreed. Because of this, there was less division on Capital Hill.

Today, the division along party lines is atrociously embarrassing and similar to the 1858 era when the North and the South were fighting about the issue of slavery. President Abraham Lincoln, who was then a Republican candidate for Illinois Senate, felt obligated to address the issue.

The Northern states were against slavery, while the Southern states were for it. Lincoln told more than 1,000 Republican delegates that  ... “A house divided against itself cannot stand. ...” Jesus spoke this same parable in Mark, Luke and Mathew.

Apparently, Lincoln’s speech didn’t sit too well with the citizens of Illinois. He lost his bid for the senate. And, apparently, neither party listened to his speech as the Civil War broke out in 1861 and lasted until 1865. You know the story. Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States and freed the slaves.

My question, ‘Is the division between the Democrats and the Republicans today similar to those that provoked a Civil War?’ It haven’t gotten to that point, but heated conflicts between President Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney, have caused me to have grave concerns.

Something is wrong with our nation when the top leader and one aspiring to be are acting like villains against each other on national television. During the second presidential debate, the two stood within a couple of feet from each other. Their facial content all but said, put up your dukes. If either one had moved closer, I don’t know what would have happened. In all three debates, both candidates have exemplified aggressive and combative tones

During Monday night’s debate, my 8-year-old daughter Brea, came in my room and sat beside me while I was watching the debate. At that time President Obama was defending Romney’s accusation that the Navy has bee downsized to fewer ships than it had in 1916. Obama responded: “Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. ... We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them.”

 Romney had a snarling look on his face. Brea asked, “Daddy, what’s wrong with him? Why is he looking like that?” I couldn’t find an answer for her inquisitiveness that would not taint her politically for the rest of her life.

So, what did I do? I told her to go back in her room to look at Sponge Bob or ICarly of whatever she was looking at on the Disney Channel.

As she walked out of the room, I thought about the millions of dollars that both candidates are spending on negative ads. These ads are on every channel, including the Disney Channel. With these ads and brawling debates, what message are we sending to our children? I’ve would like to think by now, I have instilled in Brea to respect others no matter what the situation. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing, but it’s how the disagreements are playing out during this election.

Our country is in bad shape and it shouldn’t matter which party caused it. That is the past. Efforts should be collaboratively placed on fixing the problems. If our political leaders spent as much time trying to fix the problems as they do bickering about who caused them, an effective and agreeable solution could be found.

Stop the fighting, because a house divided against itself cannot stand. We don’t want another Civil War. We don’t want our great nation to fall.

(Calvin Adkins is a staff writer for The Daily Southerner and may be reached at 823-3106 or