I try to avoid politics. Once burned twice shy and all that, and I find the whole process queasy-making. But ’tis the season, and politics just can’t be avoided right now. So …
To all the state’s politicians:
– And make no mistake, whether you call yourself a Democrat, a Republican, an independent, insider or outsider, new blood or old guard, if you’re running for office you are a politician –
Political ads have been thick as flies on a corpse for months now – some of you have been running them since April. And, especially in recent weeks, they have been almost exclusively attack ads to one degree or another. What no one among you seems to understand is that when two opposing groups are accusing each other of lying, it not only becomes clear that someone is in fact not being honest – it seems obvous that no one can really be trusted.
The ads running every few minutes on television and radio are to varying degrees irritating, appalling, and/or nauseating – and expensive. What our “Founding Fathers” planned or believed or wanted or intended for this country is something much bandied about. No amount of persuasion will convince me that obscene amounts of money spent on empty advertisements consisting largely of political and personal attacks was what the Founding Fathers intended.
For the two main senatorial candidates alone, spending on ads has mounted into the tens of millions; one candidate has proudly proclaimed that she is willing to spend $50 million of her own money on the campaign. It’s her money to spend on what she wishes, of course, but that underscores another thing which everyone claims understanding of but which no one seems to truly grasp: people are hurting. Unemployment is high, people are in fear of losing their homes, charitable donations are down significantly. I can’t help but think about the impact that those tens of millions would have spread out among those in actual need. I can’t help but think that not a single candidate for office really understands what it’s like to worry about where their next mortgage payment is coming from, or their next meal. If they did, they couldn’t so cavalierly throw away so very much cash.
In fact, right about now the only commercial which would have an effect on me other than revulsion and a stabbing pain between the eyes would be one in which the candidate promised a bare-bones campaign, in which the majority of the money that would have been spent on ads would be donated instead to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, arts organizations, and animal shelters in their district. That person would earn my vote – and my respect. The hideously unavoidable ads running instead have the precise opposite effect. Because I can’t avoid you, and because I can’t believe any of you, and because your concentration is on all the wrong things, I’m beginning to hate all of you. I’ll vote on November 2, but it will truly be voting against and not for.
I am looking forward to the election, for no other reason than that all your political ads will go away and the innocuous commercials for cars and cold remedies will come back. Sadly, at this rate the presidential campaign ads, like all the Christmas displays appearing in stores in the past couple of weeks, will begin twenty minutes later.
Sincerely … or rather, in terms which might make sense to you –
“I’m Stewartry – and I approve this message.”