O’Donnell vs. Coons: Witchcraft vs. Marxism?

Republican hopeful Christine O’Donnell and Democratic county executive Chris Coons, the candidates for Delaware’s Senate seat, battled each other along with some of the more popular accusations leveled at the pair in Wednesday night’s nationally televised debate.

O’Donnell attacked her opponent with accusations of hypocrisy, saying that although Coons had stated that what was said in their 20’s shouldn’t count against their campaigns today, he repeatedly uses O’Donnell’s supposed interest in witchcraft as grounds to condemn her as a viable choice. O’Donnell went on to say that if comments she made on a comedy show about activities from over a decade and a half ago can be considered negatively in this race, then Coons should be held just as accountable for an article he wrote after he returned from a semester in Africa in which he jokingly referred to himself as a “bearded Marxist.”

Coons defended himself by emphasizing the joking nature of his comment and telling the story that led to it, in which his Young Republican roommates joked he had “gone all the way over” when he returned from a semester in Africa and registered as a Democrat. Coons incorporated their comments in his commencement speech.

In this case, I agree with both parties. On O’Donnell’s side, if Coons states that comments from their 20’s should be “off the table,” then it is hypocritical of him to continually bring up her old interest in witchcraft in his campaign media content.

However, there is a large difference between a political joke made in a school speech and an interest in witchcraft, even in jest. When I hear someone is a Marxist, I don’t immediately think “enemy of the state.” Marxism is not Communism as we know it, as much as the two are confused. Regardless, people are entitled to their political opinion. On an entirely different scale, when I hear someone is interested in witchcraft, I raise an eyebrow. It isn’t that I think the subject isn’t interesting (I love sci-fi and fantasy books. Harry Potter all the way!), but it’s not something I claim an interest in and expect to be taken seriously. The fact that O’Donnell continually explains that she is NOT a witch is odd in the first place. I don’t think anyone actually believes that she is or was one. I think people are just concerned that she walked with that crowd. She claims she had a picnic on a satanic altar. The concern I think is being voiced in these continued references is that with her other extreme views, the public is not convinced she has a firm grounding in reality.

O’Donnell is a fierce political competitor, proven by her upset victory over GOP favorite Mike Castle. I don’t think she is a witch, nor do I think she ever truly believed in witchcraft. However, she needs to understand that if she admits to these sorts of things, it simply causes people to think her odd. In a political race of this magnitude, being odd can be a huge hindrance.

This is another example of political distraction. While the candidates did talk at length about important issues in their campaigns, most of the media coverage I’ve seen focuses on the witchcraft and Marxism. Focus here, people! Nov. 2 is around the corner.


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