Just how out of touch are the kids at the Athens-Banner Herald?

They’ve endorsed Nat Pulliam for the 10th. That’s not why they are out of touch. Read this paragraph and see if you can guess why they are out of touch.

That isn’t to say he’s the perfect candidate. Pulliam has some far-right positions on relatively trivial issues – he doesn’t believe in “winter holidays” but in “Christmas holidays,” and believes the words “In God We Trust” should continue to appear on American currency. However, Pulliam said those issues, while important to him, won’t be a high priority for his service in Congress, if he’s elected.

Only in Athens, I guess, do views shared by over two-thirds of the American public become “far right.”

[UPDATE:] Just to add useless knowledge above the fold, “In God We Trust” first appeared on American coinage by order of the Treasury Secretary pursuant to an Act of Congress in April 1864, in response to the Civil War. Congress ordered it be placed on all coinage printed in 1907. The Democrat controlled Congress adopted it as the national motto in 1956 after almost 100 years of appearance on our coinage and various government seals and documents.

Apparently, the extreme right-wing has been very active for a long time in this country.

64 comments

  1. Rusty says:

    Considering that..

    “In God We Trust” didn’t appear consistently on currency until 1955

    “In God We Trust” didn’t become the national motto until 1956

    And that that all happened in response to Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist witch hunt, where he tried to falsely correlate atheism and communism.

    I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to say “In God We Trust” is the domain of right wing lunatics. Or, at least, one right wing lunatic.

  2. Paul from Jefferson says:

    Rusty, we could just look at the polling results, but, hey, if they don’t agree with your personal opinion, then it must all be about right wing lunatics. This seems to be yet another example of when “reality-based” and logical do not overlap.

  3. Clint Austin says:

    Good night. Thinking that Christmas should be called Christmas and that our national motto is OK is far-right? That editorial board would really melt down if they read the Declaration of Independence (with its numerous references to God).

    Talk about Orwellian brainwashing…

  4. Erick says:

    Damn Rusty, where on earth did you get your history lesson? Wikipedia?

    Actually, “In God We Trust” began appearing on currency on April 22, 1864, by an Act of Congress in response to the Civil War. On March 3, 1865, another Act of Congress expanded the placement of the motto onto all gold and silver.

    In 1908, by public demand, Congress required that all coinage have the motto placed on it, including the withdrawing and reissuing of previously issued coinage.

    With the introduction of the nickel, the Treasury failed to put it on the coin and the anti-Communist with hunter and right wing lunatic Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted it be placed on the nickel.

    In 1956, two years *after* the Senate censured Josephn McCarthy and the public returned the Congress to *Democratic* control, the Democrats passed a resolution (not sponsored by McCarthy), and the President signed it, adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States.

    Yes, it is definitely a right wing agenda item.

    Geez.

  5. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Rusty, I’ve got an idea — stop spending American money (and give away what you have) out of protest. No money for Rusty until that dastardly motto is removed!!

    (I volunteer to take one for the team and hold Rusty’s money for him. For his own good, of course. 😉 )

  6. Jeff Emanuel says:

    By the way, Rusty, you might want to sue to get our far-right state Constitution thrown out. The Preamble concludes:

    …we the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

    Whoops. Maybe it’s time to leave this far-right state altogether.

  7. Federalist says:

    I can not remember the last time I used physical currency. My debit card doesn’t say in god we trust. I am with Jeff on this one, Rusty. I do wonder what Jefferson would say about his face being on the nickel, and the phrase “in god we trust” on the currency. Let it be, it is a hollow gesture aimed at restoring some sense of trust into american currency. To honor Gutenberg, I propose that on all paper currency we establish our gratefulness for his contributions to civilization. The timeline of when god put into the pledge of allegian and on currency just goes to show how unimportant the phrase actually is. When I was in grade school the “under god” phrase was not in the pledge. I did not hear that gibberish for a long time…even then nobody my age put the line in the allegiance, we were condidtioned into saying it one way.

  8. Rusty says:

    Erick,
    From the U.S. Treasury web site:

    The use of IN GOD WE TRUST has not been uninterrupted. The motto disappeared from the five-cent coin in 1883, and did not reappear until production of the Jefferson nickel began in 1938. Since 1938, all United States coins bear the inscription. Later, the motto was found missing from the new design of the double-eagle gold coin and the eagle gold coin shortly after they appeared in 1907. In response to a general demand, Congress ordered it restored, and the Act of May 18, 1908, made it mandatory on all coins upon which it had previously appeared. IN GOD WE TRUST was not mandatory on the one-cent coin and five-cent coin. It could be placed on them by the Secretary or the Mint Director with the Secretary’s approval.

    The motto has been in continuous use on the one-cent coin since 1909, and on the ten-cent coin since 1916. It also has appeared on all gold coins and silver dollar coins, half-dollar coins, and quarter-dollar coins struck since July 1, 1908.

    A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) was converting to the dry intaglio printing process. During this conversion, it gradually included IN GOD WE TRUST in the back design of all classes and denominations of currency.

    I was going by memory and was off by two years with 1955. Oops, it was 1957, even more recently.

    And the uproar to make “In God We Trust” the national motto was in response to McCarthyism, or at least ran through Congress unmolested because people were scared to oppose such measures in that climate.

    The “but they were Democrats” defense doesn’t really hold up considering it was LBJ who proposed the “In God We Trust” on paper currency bill in 1955. Let’s not pretend like LBJ would run as a Democrat if he were running for office now, nor that the Democrats then would be generally recognizable as Democrats now.

  9. Jeff Emanuel says:

    You’ve got that right. Add JFK to the list of “Let’s not pretend like [insert name here] would run as a Democrat if he were running for office now.”

  10. Bill Simon says:

    Rusty,

    So, you don’t think McCarthy uncovered any REAL Communists in our midst, huh?

    Let me guess, yer a Commie, right? Albeit a 2007 version. 😉

  11. Erick says:

    Uh, Rusty, your comment:

    “In God We Trust” didn’t appear consistently on currency until 1955

    Care to revise that one?

    Oh, and John F. Kennedy and Tip O’Neil supported the measure in 1956. Definitely right wing. In fact, the Congressional Record reflects that the intentions of the Joint Resolution were adopted unanimously.

    No, I think you have a case of convenient revisionism in your head. Some people do allege that this was in response to McCarthy, a man who, along with his mission, had largely been discredited by 1956. Some people also allege the U.S. Government was complicit in 9/11. Just because “some people” do does not make it so.

  12. First of all I think LBJ and Kennedy would both run as Democrats today, although they might have a hard time getting by through the BFD primary. Ever hear of Medicare and the Great Society?

    Second, Pulliam’s website isn’t loading for me but has it occured to anyone that maybe those issues are a little nutty if you bring them up unprompted in your editorial interview.

    Like, name 100 things that are challenging this country or which you would like to see accomplished and I don’t think “In God We Trust” coming off currency or Christmas being referred to as Winter should be in that top 100.

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the Banner Herald ed board sits you down and asks you about In God We Trust. Assuming they don’t, what the hell were they thinking when they endorsed this guy if he’s bringing up pointless stupid culture war crap like that during his interview?

  13. memberg says:

    Before this gets too out of hand, allow me to offer a middle-ground here (from a Jewish perspective, no less).

    1) There is no War on Christmas. The whole issue is pure spin concocted by [right-wing lunatic?] John Gibson to sell books and make money. Who doesn’t love Christmastime? If you redact JC, you’re left with fun, family, football and egg nog. What’s not to like? Even still, I gladly wish Christians a Merry Christmas – all I ask is that Hanukkah is given more than just a passing thought in public holiday displays.

    2) Lunatics on both sides of the aisle seek to exploit our national motto. Libs claim that it violates separation of church and state; conservatives claim that it opens the door for more religion in government. Well, they’re both right and they’re both wrong. At the end of the day, athiests, etc. are just going to have to suck it up for the foreseeable future while the lunatics fight this one out.

  14. Rusty says:

    No, I don’t care to revise. But I will elaborate. By “consistently” I mean appearing on all currency. Because it didn’t appear on all currency until the paper money law was passed.

  15. Nicki says:

    I think the ABH is out of touch merely for endorsing Pulliam. A) He won’t win, and has about as much chance as the snowball in hell, B) James Marlow is the candidate for whom Athens residents are most likely to vote, followed by Whitehead. So Pulliam is a totally impractical endorsement.

  16. Mike-El says:

    Maybe they just decided to give this truck punching, bobblehead dolling, Minutemen menacing, yuppie-attired hunting, rent-a-teening, and deathbed campaigning/fundraising race the fiasco of an endorsement it deserves.

    I’m not sure I can even conceive of an endgame worthy of its shambolic buildup…short of Mark Richt being elected as a write-in candidate or something.

  17. Nicki says:

    Can I write Richt in? ‘Cause I’d rather. But what’s sad is that there’s nothing wrong with at least two of the Democratic candidates and yet the constituency would rather vote for truck punchers, race baiters, and the like. Woo, North Georgia!

    I predict Whitehead wins.

  18. RJL says:

    Behold! And it came to pass that man caused an engravened paper in my name, which was floated freely amongst the markets of money changers throughout the lands.

  19. Federalist says:

    Nick, there is only 1 good dem. candidate in the 10th district race, Marlow. Denise and Evita are pathetic. Denise “I know my father, and I do not mean my biological father” Freeman is a joke. She holds no solid position, it changes with the crowd. Furthermore, she enters almost every race that has the opportunity to. She is a habitual candidate. Evita, well…she is very smart, and I would assume she is the second candidate that you, Nicky, said that there is nothing wrong with. There really isn’t, but she can not win an election campaign. Her fundraising abilities are weak, and she has oratory problems. If she were running before radio and television became tools of campaigning, she might have had a chance…just not in Ga.

  20. Jmac says:

    Just so I’m clear here, you’re criticizing the Athens Banner-Herald for being too liberal … when it endorses a Republican candidate.

    Who cares if they quibble over a few minor details and are a bit careless with their language (which I think they probably were), they ultimately backed a conservative candidate. That editorial went above and beyond to laud praise on Pulliam and say how he’s the best equipped to serve.

    Why they mentioned those two particular instances, I have no idea. But I also know – from having worked as a reporter and editor at the ABH for six years in the late-1990s and early 2000s as well as knowing and having worked for the people who make up their editorial board – this isn’t a question they probably put out there. As chrisishardcore noted, it’s something which was probably offered to them through the course of their interviews by the candidate himself, which made such a random item stick in their heads.

    And it’s because it was so trivial the ABH decided to overlook it and endorse him anyway.

    As far as the actual trivial detail we’re bickering over, Erick I have to say that falling back on the historical timeline is a faulty way of setting up your argument. Primarily because we live in a considerably more pluralistic society with regard to religion than we did in the 1950s (let alone the 1860s). More than that, we live in a more pluralistic society with regard to religion that has the substantially more freedom and opportunity to speak out than we did in the 1950s (as is the case with most minority groups in this country).

    To merely say that 60 percent of the country likes it and it was cool in the 1950s to do this is setting up a strawman because the circumstances are different. To defend ‘In God We Trust’ needs to come from a more substantive place methinks (and, for the record, I think we should keep it on our currrency).

  21. ChuckEaton says:

    “No way JFK or LBJ would be Republicans today.”

    The problem is you’re looking at this from a philosophical standpoint; trying to match the current political parties with given issues of the time. Unfortunately it’s totally backwards from reality.

    If LBJ were a young, up-and-coming politician from the State of Texas today he’d be a Republican; if he happened to be born in New York then he would be a Democrat.

    Johnson was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, opportunists to ever roam the halls of Congress.

    If you haven’t read Robert Caro’s book on his, “Master of the Senate”, then I highly recommend it. The first third of the book is a history of the US Senate, devoting a few chapeters to Richard Russell. It gives a great history of LBJ’s unprecedented rise to Majority Leader in just one term in the Senate.

    There is a great chapter regarding how LBJ unsuccessfully tried to stay in charge of the Senate while as VP; as he was terrified of being irrelevant.

    Johnson was a fascinating character; not in an admiring sense, but in a watching the Sopranos sense.

  22. Federalist says:

    Robert Dallek had a better biography of Johnson, In my opinion. He actually wrote a few books on Johnson…anyways. Chuck. You are right…if Johnson wanted to get elected in Texas nowadays he would have to be a Repub. Kennedy was, and would still be, a Democrat. Philosophically and politically Kennedy would be a democrat. Johnson was an opportunist and probably would belong to whatever party that was required for his election. I hate that the Republicans keep trying to steal great Democrats and pawn them off as their own. Reagan was a Democrat you know!

  23. ChuckEaton says:

    I haven’t read Dallek’s book on Johnson, but have read all of Caro’s. I’ll have to read it sometime as Johnson’s biography is amazing.

  24. Donkey Kong says:

    I think this is a collective effort on the left, albeit perhaps only semi-conscious, to marginalize conservative thought. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Any conservative ideas or organizations are viewed by the media as far right or radical, and practically any liberal organization is viewed as moderate, or left “leaning.” I think its a hit job, and we need to call them out on it big time. This is one weapon in the war of ideas, and a noticeably useful strategy–most mainstream Americans don’t want to hold radical or unpopular viewpoints. By painting conservative thought as radical, Americans will drift away from it.

  25. rugby_fan says:

    Erick;

    Simply because “over two-thirds of the American public” support something does not mean it is not far right wing.

    That said, I don’t think saying “In God we Trust” is right wing at all.

    Donkey Kong;

    Those tactics are used by both sides in order to marginalize the opposition’s philosophy.

  26. Jmac says:

    The other thing to keep in mind is that, again, this newspaper’s editorial board endorsed a Republican in this race … and they endorsed Republican Bill Cowsert over now-DPG chairwoman Jane Kidd (twice) … and George Bush for president in 2004.

  27. Clint Austin says:

    Rugby Fan,

    Your comment about “just because 2/3rds back it does not keep it from being far right” comment is the key issue here.

    For something to be “far right” (or “far left”) means it is out of the mainstream of political thought. And there are only two standards of “mainstream” that one can appeal to:

    1. The actual mass of political thought with all the people (or the “relative standard”)

    2. The “correct way” to think politically, regardless of what all the people believe (or the “absolute standard”)

    Since 2/3rds (or more) of Americans think Christmas should not be called “Winter Holiday” and also agree that “In God We Trust” is OK, the relative standard won’t do for your purposes.

    Therefore, the ONLY way to say “just because 2/3rds back it does not keep it from being far right” is for you to believe it is absolutely wrong to believe this, regardless of the mass of public opinion.

    As a conservative, I can easily argue both the relative and absolute standard on this issue.

    However, liberals (who are the only people who object to Christmas and the National Motto) reject the existence of absolute right and wrong, they have no tools left to smear 2/3rds of the people as being “far right.”

    In other words, you can’t have it both ways.

  28. rugby_fan says:

    ‘For something to be “far right” (or “far left”) means it is out of the mainstream of political thought.’

    No, it means that it is an extremist policy.

    Extremism does not mean always mean “out of the mainstream of political thought” (c.f. much of Europe in the early 20th century).

  29. Federalist says:

    I am a liberal and do not object to christmas. the national “motto” should be something other than “in god we trust” though. It is probably the most appropriate motto though, after 95% of people do believe in god or a supreme being of sorts. The rest of us…well our understanding should philosophically permit us to just brush off the motto because it is BS. If a change should ever occur it should be something intimidating. Something refective of the national character. the U.S. is the greatest country on earth…we should have a bad ass motto. Something capitalistic and secular.

  30. rugby_fan says:

    Clint;

    Getting to what I would assume is a criticism aimed at me, I don’t believe I ever labeled this as being far right wing (or right wing at all). In fact, I don’t believe saying “In God we Trust” is right wing in any manner.

    There are a few too many pronouns in this graph for my liking but I’ll have a go at answering this;
    ‘Therefore, the ONLY way to say “just because 2/3rds back it does not keep it from being far right” is for you to believe it is absolutely wrong to believe this, regardless of the mass of public opinion.’

    I think this goes to my prior post. For something to be “far right wing” or “far left wing” even, the philosophy/policy has to have some level of extremism. How extreme a belief is, is not dependent on public support, or lack thereof.

    Without getting into a debate on political philosophies, liberals are not the “only ones” opposed to “In God we Trust”, a number of libertarians are opposed to this as well.

    Moreover, I would be willing to argue that liberals will always say murder, rape, &c. are always bad, discrediting your statement that “liberals…reject the existence of absolute right and wrong”.

  31. Federalist says:

    Perhaps something with a little sarcasm too.
    “Yeah, and what is your GDP?” for example.

  32. Federalist says:

    You, rugby_fan, are a true american. JSM, I was hoping that information would have been evident without such a statement…but I am glad that you understand my sentiments and commentary. I am not a true nihilist, there are some normative political and economic theories to which I subscribe…but they are not necessarily established by popular support. I am not an anarchist, nor do I reject all established laws…only those that prohibit the exercise of what free will actually remains.

  33. Federalist says:

    JSM, don’t you think that we should create a new motto for this country…now that the cold war against those godless commie sodomites is over? Our new “enemy” has a god…we need something else to fight them with.

  34. jsm says:

    Fed, I like “In God We Trust” for obvious reasons. Maybe we could put “We’re not Europe – on purpose” right below it. 🙂

  35. Clint Austin says:

    JSM – nice addition to the motto.

    If it had only been in the motto BEFORE the two little wars we fought to save them from their scrawny selves…

  36. JayHanley says:

    Yes, Nicki, there is a write-in spot so you can write Mark Richt in. However, it appears you are a big fan of UGA football. If so, then Jim Whitehead’s your man.

  37. Federalist says:

    Typical cons,…finding stupid reasons to support their candidate. Honestly JayHanley, if you are a UGA football fan you shouldn’t vote for Whitehead. Not only does he want to blow up the school, he was a horrible player. Not to mention the years he played for UGA, the team lost to Florida each year!

  38. MindyMay says:

    there is nothin far right about “in God we trust” or Christmas!!!!!!!!!

    the crazy writers at the athens paper need to get with it and realize people believe in God even if they dont.

  39. Federalist says:

    Mindy, there is a difference between believing god (which most of the writers at the ABH do) and advocating your god as the only one. There are more holidays in the winter than there are “christmas holidays.” And the big ruckus caused by the far-right and their “war on christmas” was uncalled for. When wal-mart was attacked for encouraging the phrase “happy holidays,” the christmas holiday advocacy became a far right issue. There is nothing wrong with wishing happy holidays to everybody that celebrates a holiday during the winter…but if you tell me merry christmas when I leave your store…you can bet your ass I am not coming back. Not because I think it is rude, rather it is because I am offended by such inconsideration for my beliefs (or lack thereof). Perhaps that can clarify how be pro-Christmas holiday is far right, where pro-winter holiday is moderated…so not to offend any person, or advocate the superiority of recognition given to christmas.

  40. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Federalist, I think you’d find (if you actually looked around) that Christmas and other such things are not “far-right” so much as you are far more “far left” than you’d ever admit even to yourself.

  41. Federalist says:

    I never said christmas is far left. It is far right to advocate that one holiday at the expense of acknowledging the celebrations of others.

  42. Nicki says:

    *yawn*

    The War on Christmas is fictitious, and it’s a tool to stir up those who view politics less than critically. In that sense it’s far right.

    Personally, I don’t care what you wish me as long as it’s positive. But I’m unlikely to wish you anything but a happy holiday because I wouldn’t presume to know what holiday you do or don’t celebrate.

  43. Federalist says:

    further, not farther. you may be right. It just seems so common sense though. Perhaps it does not designate a position on the political spectrum; I still, however, find it rather discourteous to wish a happy holiday to a person who does not celebrate said holiday. It is not something that is always something that is obvious when just passing by, say…whilst exiting a retail store. Why are we discussing this issue still?

  44. Nicki says:

    Because it’s a tool for stirring up the less-than-critical, Federalist. But seriously, why do “conservatives” favor intervention in private commerce in this case? That’s anti-conservative, if anything.

  45. jsm says:

    Jeff, Fed is amoral and atheistic. These traits are going to affect everything he thinks and writes. Even though his views are far left, and in my opinion socialist, his principles are defined more by what he believes about God. To me, this makes his views essentially irrelevant in American society, but he, like every other citizen, has the right to voice them. Good luck trying to reason with someone who sees no value in belief in God or morality and who makes political judgments based solely on predicted economic gain.

  46. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Hm. I don’t know about favoring “intervention in private commerce,” per se. Like Federalist, I can choose whether or not to shop somewhere, and regardless of the reason I decide not to return to a store, it’s my personal decision — not an “intervention.”

    For example, when Target banned the Salvation Army from its stores a couple years ago, I stopped shopping at Target. They made a business decision, and I made a business decision; at no point was I attempting to make them change course, or to impose my beliefs on them — I simply took my business elsewhere, which is as much my privilege as deciding how they will conduct their business is theirs. No skin off either’s nose, there.

    I understand where you’re coming from, Federalist; I just choose not to be insulted if I’m wished a happy [insert-holiday-here] which I may or may not choose to observe myself. First of all, I don’t think it solves any problem to be bothered by it, but second of all (and more importantly), I simply take such wishes for what I think they are — a sincere greeting and well-wishing. Though it may not be in the name of a holiday (or a particular religion) to which I subscribe, a sincere well-wishing isn’t something at which I turn up my nose because it comes from the “wrong” point of view.

    Likewise, I feel no need to take umbrage, or to feel insulted, on behalf of any- and everybody else who might not celebrate that certain holiday, or practice that certain religion. I firmly believe that they can take care of themselves, and can be plenty insulted, if they feel it is called for, without my assistance.

  47. Federalist says:

    I riddle you this, then Jeff. If target had lower prices that store “x”, would you have gone back to target…even after they got rid of the salvation army solicitors?

  48. Nicki says:

    Jeff, you and I have similar views, then, of our role in private commerce. I expect courtesy from retailers, and if I don’t like what I get then I shop elsewhere.

    However, an idealized discussion of what would be optimal is not really what we’re discussing when we’re discussing political candidates. Why does it matter what you’d like private citizens and retailers to say if you recognize that it’s not your role to direct either? Again, it’s anti-conservative. The truly conservative choice would be to make your individual decisions and leave people’s holiday greetings to them. Or, heck, to concentrate on matters that actually matter.

  49. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Nicki, you and I are seeing very close to eye-to-eye 🙂

    Federalist, that’s a good question. I’d say probably not; what I did at that time was simply take my business to the eeeeeeeeeeeevil Wal-Mart, which not only welcomed the Salvation Army to its stores, but matched every donation made to the SA at a WM store. It was a conscious decision, and in order for me to ignore that situation and keep shopping at Target, the prices would have had to be significantly lower, to such a degree that I really couldn’t justify to myself my refusal of business to them.

  50. rugby_fan says:

    jsm;

    I doubt Feddy over here is amoral, and despite my devout Catholicism, your last statement (“Good luck trying to reason with someone who sees no value in belief in God or morality”) is quite asinine.

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