Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"A Pox on Negative Campaigning" or "I Vote Therefore I Rant"

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am getting tired of the ads on the television telling me how bad the other candidate is. Each time one of these ads are played, it reminds me of my elementary school days; when kids would sling insults back and forth across the playground at recess. Of course, these folks take it to a whole new level.

In Alabama's 2nd Congressional district, one of the candidates promised he would not run a negative campaign. To his credit, I can't think of one negative ad that has the new sound bite-of-the-day stating who he is and that he approves this message (yes, my eyes roll each time I hear that). However, it sure didn't stop his national party (or his opponent's for that matter) from doing just that. These groups are stretching the truth to a point that it is about to snap. For example, one group states that the other guy, labeled a "restaurant multimillionaire" in the ad, did not provide health care to 80% of his employees. Of course the screen has a great deal of small print at the bottom, a disclaimer of some sort I’m sure. But, since I can't afford a television big enough to read the small print I did a little research on my own. I found out that he owns approximately 16 Subway sandwich shops, 80% of his employees are part-time, and part-time employees are not eligible for employer provided health care. While it is completely truthful, it is quite misleading.

Politicians, and the people who make their ads, rely on the fact that many people take much of what they see on television and the Internet at face value. They won't take the time to learn the stories behind the statements. Instead they just get angry about the information that is fed to them. Which brings me to my next point.

If you don't like the way something tastes, check the ingredients!! There is so much information available, in the form of public records, that there is no excuse for us to be in the dark about who or what we are voting for. Learn what the candidates stand for because they are not likely to tell you directly. Read information from both political views so you understand how they spin the facts to make them appear better or worse than they are.

Remember this; the people who make these advertisements are the same people who try to convince us that we can get rock-hard chiseled abs if we use their exercise machine or diet pills, while putting fine print at the bottom of the screen that explains how you have to modify your diet as well. They try to get us to buy their products, or vote for their candidate, because that is their job; and we all know what happens if we don't do our jobs well.

Bottom line - VOTE!! But vote smartly. Don't vote for the person with the best hair, the most charisma, or because someone tells you to. Do some research and make your own decision.