The Long Shadow
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 :::
I've been mulling the muck washing up on the shores of my aggregators in recent days...muck from both sides of the partisan divide.
Some of it is illuminating -- telling me far more about the proclivities of the writers than their subjects. Some is just too silly for words.
But the sum of has brought me more firmly than ever to the belief that blogging is a throw-back to the earliest, wildest days of the Republic, when newspapers were fiercely partisan and often more interested in tearing their ideological opponents apart than publishing news. And in our own case especially, it has shown me that Virginia's past still casts an uncommonly long shadow over its present.
George Allen often recalls the words and ideas of Thomas Jefferson. But little did he dream that this current campaign would come to resemble those of Jefferson's own day, and of his own making. Some of the quotes found here could apply to what we are seeing and reading right now:
Like other men, Jefferson was sensitive to these false accusations. . . Publicly, however, he made no response to these unsrcupulous attacks. 'I should have fancied myself half guilty,' he said, 'had I condescended to put pen to paper in refutation of their falsehoods, or drawn them respect by any notice from myself.' [Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Dr. George Logan, June 20, 1816].
Whether the accusations tossed at George Allen are true is not for me to say. I do not know. Only Allen knows for sure. But like those tossed by an enraged Thomas Callendar against Jefferson two centuries ago, the accusations are just plausible enough -- and made even more so by the campaign's putting "pen to paper" -- to cast a long, deep shadow over their target. And they leave marks that not even time can diminish.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 9/26/2006