Aspen Times Weeekly: Hit & Run with John Colson |

Aspen Times Weeekly: Hit & Run with John Colson

with John Colson

Is Halloween a Republican holiday, a chance to ward off evil ideas and truly work toward a better future for all, as the party once did?

You decide.

According to the website,, Halloween is believed to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival known as “Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.”

It was all part of the fun, apparently, since Samhain (reportedly pronounced “sow-en”) was a three-day festival believed to open the doors between the worlds of the living and the dead, to permit the dead to walk among the living and, uh, live it up a little, I guess.

It was inevitable that some bright entrepreneurs of those prehistoric times would seize the holiday as a chance to make a little money by claiming the ability to contact the spirits or foretell the future.

It wasn’t until the eighth century that Pope Gregory III named Nov. 1 as the day to honor all saints and martyrs of the Christian faith, or All Saints Day, preceded by All Hallows Eve, the start of this period of remembrance.

But, enough history, what’s happening now? How can I possibly link the Republican Party’s fate to this ancient pagan ritual turned Christian day of remembrance turned commercial fear fest?

Stay with me for a moment.

You see, the Republicans as a whole may not realize it, but Halloween could become their day, the day they can shake off the ghosts of Romney, Palin and a plague of Teabaggers, to scramble their way back to the days when the party ended slavery in this country, fought corruption, supported workers’ rights and more.

Or not, as the case may be.

In South Carolina, normally a safe Republican stronghold, for example, a Democrat gubernatorial candidate named Vincent Sheheen reportedly has pulled even in the polls with Republican incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley, who narrowly beat Vincent in the governor’s race four years ago.

Haley, a native of the state, is a former state legislator and a Tea Party darling who apparently views government service as an opportunity to let the government serve her instead of the other way around. She recently declared that, in the 2014 gubernatorial race, she would not be obeying state laws prohibiting the use of taxpayer money to pay some of her campaign expenses, such as holding fundraising events and rallies “and any other event paid for and planned by the governor’s campaign.”

She is doing this thanks to an agreement with the South Carolina State Ethics Commission, the members of which she appoints and controls.

Haley is wealthy and well-connected, a businesswoman and conservative social activist who favors sales taxes over property taxes to fund the government, and a staunchly anti-abortion champion who apparently owes her 2010 gubernatorial election to an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Although she is a foe of progressive immigration reform, she has used racial taunts against her by a former opponent to portray herself as a downtrodden immigrant, so she’s a hypocrite, as well.

Sheheen, also a native of the state and legislator, is a moderate progressive who supports gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana, land conservation to fend off overdevelopment, and the Affordable Care Act. He also believes legislators should be forced to wait eight years after leaving office before becoming a lobbyist.

I view Haley, dressed in her Tea Party costume, as just another right-wing apologist for a plan to return the U.S. to a state of updated feudalism, with wealthy corporate masters lording it over their impoverished employees and using the government as their private piggy bank.

As such, she stands in open opposition to any in her party who would banish the ghosts of self-centered, hate-based policies and ideas, who might be convinced to cast off their glittering costumes as corporate lackeys and put back on the less gaudy cloth coats of the original Republican Party of Abe Lincoln.

And I think Hallloween is the perfect time for the Grand Old Party to shake off those nasty ghosts and ugly old costumes, get back to their roots, and try doing their real job for a change.