I recently heard an ad on television touting how someone would “stick it to” their opponent and was ready to “go toe-to-toe” with his competition. Was it a commercial for a boxing match, perhaps? Nope. It was a political campaign ad.
It’s time to get out the hip waders people, because as we move toward the general election the mud and muck is going to get thick! We thought it was bad leading up to the primary, but those ads were only appetizers for a main course of ugly, followed by a dessert of disgust. Those ads were about infighting, competing against those who shared the same point of view, agenda and political party. We are now going to see how truly nasty our politicians and their special interest groups can be as they face off against members of the other party.
Nothing reminds me more of why I dislike politics than the ads that accompany an election. Our political system is going down the tubes – tubes filled with lies, misrepresentations, personal attacks and little of substance or of use to any voter who is trying to make an educated decision. Most of the candidates are only concerned with attacking the other candidates. They twist and manipulate the facts. They sling and spin accusations like they’re Frisbees and we, as voters, are little more than over eager dogs who they apparently believe will run after anything that moves.
Several years ago I pledged I would not vote for anyone who slung mud, personally attacked, misrepresented voting records and didn’t clearly tell me exactly where they stood on issues of importance to me. Because of this pledge I no longer have anyone for whom I can vote. They all do it. Every candidate is now running ads attacking the other candidates. It’s true some have gotten into the mess in an attempt to defend themselves and I do allow them some wiggle room to do that. If I didn’t I would be left scratching my head at the voting site, holding an unmarked ballot with no choice whatsoever.
Instead of telling me you are for “conservative solutions” or support “liberal social concerns” tell me how you believe you are the best candidate for all of us. Instead of berating your opponents, or using rhetoric behind which to hide or to confuse, tell me how you propose to create alliances and work for the greater good – not just for a small segment of your particular political party, but for the big picture, the rest of us. As a registered Independent I am not swayed by your political party affiliation. In fact, you have a great obstacle to overcome for my vote if you profess allegiance to either party. What does impress me is honesty and integrity. I want to know what drives you to run for office in the first place. Do you really believe you can make a positive difference, or do you have some kind of Power Ranger fantasy life that you hope to fulfill? Do you honestly believe you can serve fairly, or are you running because the voices in your head tell you to do so?
Honestly, if you really wanted to do something good for this state, this country, even this world, why are you so invested in raising and spending thousands, even millions, of dollars for your political campaign? If you have the connections, means, or other abilities to raise that kind of money why not use your power for good, rather than evil? The money that is spent on political campaigns could make a big dent in the national debt, could help rebuild our decaying schools, could provide much needed services for our soldiers, their families and the rest of us. It could mend so much of what needs tender care in this country.
So, I don’t want to hear how you can “knock off” the other guy or gal. I’m not interested in half truths and how many ways you can accuse your opponent of being untrustworthy all while you are being a sly manipulator. What I am interested in is hearing words like “working together” and “compromise,” but you don’t hear those words much these days in our political system. What you do hear is a lot of blaming, accusations, name calling, even calls for violence against those with whom some don’t agree.
Will the system ever change? We all say we hate the negative campaign ads, but they appear to work, and they are getting more abrasive, more divisive and more negative with every election.
It’s enough to make me wonder why I even bother to vote. But I do vote – whether I have any real choices or not, every election I vote. Mostly I vote because it’s a hard fought right. When my mother was born women weren’t allowed to vote. I vote for all the women, and men, who fought for my right to do so.
But mostly, I vote because I then feel justified in bitching about the outcome.