Friday, October 22, 2010
Mudslinging as Election Day draws nearer
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
The one that really got me was the ad urging Latinos to not vote at all - to send a message to the Democrats that they can't be taken for granted.
But that's just one example of the stupidity surrounding elections these days.
The other day I had several days worth of mail accumulated on my desk. As I waded through the pile to make sure I didn't fall behind on my bills, I noticed that most of it was from political campaigns. The only problem - I couldn't easily figure out whose campaigns they were from.
That's because, instead of supporting a candidate - they all focused on attacking an opponent.
I had to search for the return address, or the tiny lettering at the bottom disclosing who paid for the ad, to find out who sent it my way.
Actually, I don't think this is such a good campaign tactic. It gives one's opponent name recognition, instead of the candidate the campaign is supporting.
But it's all enough to encourage people to stay away from the polls. This kind of campaigning leaves the impression that no matter who you elect, he or she won't be so good for you.
Of course, the people running the campaigns aren't stupid. They read the polls too. And the polls suggest that there's a general "throw the bums out" mentality sweeping the nation. The only problem with that is, in two year's time, voters may be inclined to throw the new bums out.
Complex problems face this nation and this world. They demand well thought-out solutions. There are no simple nor quick answers, for example, to the economic problems that have so many Americans on their heels.
Life isn't like a TV show in which a problem is resolved in 30 or 60 minutes. When it comes to problems of state, there are no instant solutions.
That's why negative campaigning and the throw out the old in favor of the new even when we don't know what the new represents approach is wrong.