What is it about so many public servants and would-be public servants that they believe the only way to gain the publics attention is to hurl insults and unsubstantiated charges? Dont they recognize the connection between low turnout at the polls and a dominant political tone of telling the citizenry why they should be AGAINST somebody and never explaining why the electorate should be FOR somebody?
It is noteworthy, and rather laudable, that for the most part local campaigns for office did not degenerate into this sort of foray into septic tanks. Oh sure, there was the usual sub rosa presence of whispering campaigns critical of one candidate of another but that is face it normal and always has been. It falls into the category of human nature more than political nature.
AMERICAN POLITICS has always been rather rough and tumble. It goes all the way back to the Founding Fathers, who after they founded the country and then started competing to run it, were known to occasionally say some rather nasty things about each other. It has continued unabated since.
In addition, political free speech has always tended to be a bit over the top. Speakers (and writers) can get away with murder in what they say, knowing it would be near-impossible to successfully sue for libel or slander in this environment. Theres stuff said in some of those political broadsides that, frankly, would bring lawyers knocking on our doors if the newspaper said the same thing.
However, in recent years in Georgia both the tone and volume of negativity has increased. This year, in several state races, things got particularly vicious. Its been worse remember what Max Cleland and Guy Milner said about each other in that U.S. Senate race a few years back?
Nonetheless, so far this year the TV ads have been bad, some of the mailed broadsides even worse. It got to the point where voters no doubt felt they had to approach their mailboxes with barbecue tongs in hand to extract the fliers, they were so incendiary. Apparently the top positions in our land are reserved solely for crooks, frauds, liars, swindlers or worse. Well, thats what the fliers said, anyway.
CANT SOME of these politicians find something better to do with all the campaign contributions they solicit? Will big-buck donors ever wake up to the fact that their money is going to this sort of stuff and not, as they intended and hoped, electing somebody to office who actually has ideas and solutions to offer?
Sure, all the candidates have platforms that they dutifully post on their web sites as though most voters scour self-promoting web pages for honest, neutral information. And, in the radio and TV debates that almost nobody watches or listens to, they do generally try to stick to the issues when not talking about how wonderful they are, thus implying their opponent is considerably less so.
Thus far, in the local races, platforms and positions even a few actual suggestions for community improvements actually dominated. Applause, please. That may well change in coming months as there was little competition in the local state representative/senator races in the primary. Apparently, the higher up the elective ladder, and the more campaign chest money there is to spend, the worse it gets.
Alls fair in love and war, one supposes, but does representing the people really have to be a war?
THIS COMMUNITY, this state, this nation face many, many real problems. Most have been around for years, even generations, without serious attention. If the voting public has gained the impression that it really doesnt matter much who gets elected because nothing will really change all that much ... theyre right. At least so far as addressing what really matters: education, health care, poverty, world peace and that kind of stuff.
Instead, all political rhetorical firepower seems exclusively focused not on issues that require reason but on those that trigger an emotional response. These hot button issues appear to include religion, foreigners, sex fiends, flag burners and such.
Question: If we were all of the same exact faith, all looked and talked alike, were all Puritans and flew the flag above our homes, would those other problems and issues go away? The answer is obvious: Of course not.
This appeal for candidates, at all levels, to return to the high road will likely fall upon mud-plugged ears in a climate where winning increasingly appears to have become everything. Kind of like our fervent allegiance to favorite sports teams, actually.
SOMETHING HAS happened to old adage of Its not whether you win or lose but how you play the game in both athletics and politics. Until that changes, in politics at least, the voters are always going to wind up the losers no matter how they mark their ballots.
Did the lesser of two evils win the day in yesterdays voting? Hows about starting to give the electorate a choice between the greater of two goods