Scary season, frightening time

Rain and wind and the dark of night, moon shadows of great oaks walk across my lawn. Night-time critters are quiet and leaves whip up into whirling dervishes, the crackling stopped only by rows of bushes.

Footsteps creep closer crunching their way up my street. The wind cries out and fades to a whimper and I hear the footsteps getting closer, they’re only a half-lot away and I can now hear not only the lumbering-man’s footsteps but  the leaves swishing along with him. Is he dragging a foot or is it something else?

The dark shadow is now only a few yards away, and the dark outline of the hulking man is joined by an odd shape at his feet. And then it becomes clear. Arrf, arrf, arrf; the tiny bark of a tiny dog.

“Sure is dark out tonight,” the hulk says as his giant shadow has shrunken to join his real 5 foot 8 inch frame. “It will be a good night for trick or treaters tomorrow night.”

He was right. But, there is more to be afraid of than blowing leaves and the dark of night and I’m not talking about the next episode of “The Walking Dead.”

Do we endorse candidates here? After Larry Haake’s (Chesterfield’s Voting Registrar) performance over the last few months, we at the Village News are endorsing Mr. Haake for chairman of Chesterfield’s ethic committee. Oh, we don’t have one, you say. Well, we ought to get one just so Haake can be Chair.

But, why we are so proud of him is that he bucked the system. We like someone who bucks the system, like a hunter likes hanging buck antlers over his fireplace. And I think Haake would get their vote, too.

It’s not just bucking the system; I did that 35 years ago when I marched against the building of a local nuclear power plant. We won, or so we hundreds of protesters thought, when Bechtel buckled and turned the nuclear plant into a coal-burning electric plant.

Little did we know at the time that nuclear would have polluted the air and the water around the Ohio River power station outweighing the dangers of a coal burning, CO2 burping plant. Scarey.

Frightening social and political boogeymen lurk at every turn. On page 1, we see that Attorney General Ken “the cooch” Cuccinelli defended in court a voter-purging case against the Democrats. If Cuccinelli got his way, the purge would remove enough voters that he might win a Governor’s race that he’s currently way behind on in the poles – think about Haake’s committee.

What is frightening is that gerrymandering and voter purging have almost become status quo in every election. Will we ever see a real democracy again?

Scary are the zombies that kids shoot in video games instead of playing outside. Shoulders rounded and slumped over their video gadget, like a 90-year-old with scoliosis.

Kids are losing their ability to pay attention. Say something to them and their mouths remain closed, tongue peaking out like a third lip, eyes glued to the screen and thumbs moving like someone who flunked typing class. Parents have to yell to get their attention. And what is the tool of discipline for a video game addict? Take the game away. We lost use of our bicycle or ball glove, but the only ball glove some of these kids know is the one on “MLB Batter Up.”

That’s not as scary as students killing students, or young kids losing their life while drunk driving or even being subject to a poor education. Or the out-of-reach cost of a college education and lack of jobs when they graduate.

Just like “Jason” visiting your door on Halloween to some the fear isn’t real. They don’t dig in deep enough to know that not only are groceries outrageously priced, but private healthcare can ruin a hardworking family. Say $1,000 a month premium with a $5,000 deductible and a number of ways for the insurance provider to slip out of the policy.

Now the real scary part: You know the frightening things that first come to mind are just the sawdust on the floor of a new house.

War, U.S. famine, the separation of races, government budgets, debt, sequester, more TVs than books in homes, working two jobs to make ends meet, shutdowns, layoffs, death of small business, grocery inflation, healthcare inflation, deteriorating roads, peer pressure, political pressure, tire pressure, open government, crime, smog in China headed east, Anthony Weiner, childcare, eldercare, caring. Add your fear here: _____________.

This is not a glass half empty, this a glass without enough left for all of us to drink.

Negative? Yes. Frightening? Maybe. Concerning? You bet.

After you pick up the Spiderman or Wonderwoman outfit for your child for Halloween, let’s hope that these superheroes can save tomorrow.


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