Here in the US we just had a major national election. (No worries, this article is not about whether you are a democrat, independent, republican or the ‘new’ tea party republican. I stay away from that topic as my opinion seems to bother most of the people around me.) While not even half of voting-aged Americans bothered to vote, in the weeks leading up to this event everyone was bombarded with candidate information. Telephones rang without stop all day and most evenings. Fliers were stuck in our doors. And commercials ran without ceasing.
The thing I find so interesting about all of this is that instead of explaining what a candidate is going to do or his/her opinion on the important current issues the majority of these media types bash the other candidate. The commercials are especially blatant. They begin with a series of three or four areas in which the opponent is unqualified for the position and end with one solid plug for why X candidate is the one to vote for.
What happened to the idea if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all? And more importantly, what kind of example are we sending to the younger generation about how to treat people who think differently? We wonder why cyber bullying has become so prominent in today’s teens, perhaps a large part of that has to do with the way our politicians interact. Why shouldn’t a child make fun of their classmate for the way he/she acts? Why not point out the things he/she does wrong, the lapses in judgment, the personality quirks. Why not post unflattering pictures? Why not do all of this and more; especially if by so doing the bully is made to look better, more virtuous, more popular?
This is another issue…. But I’d even venture to say that these smear campaigns are one of the reason people of my generation are so reluctant to vote. No one looks good. No one has plans in place to evoke change. The only opinion a candidate seems to have is why the other person is less qualified to do the job. As someone who often questions even bothering to vote, I have to say the majority of my hesitancy has to do with my disgust for this whole attack-ad movement. I’d love to see a candidate who gives it to you straight… here is what I will do if elected, here are the issues I am focused on and here is where I stand on these issues. ‘Nough said.