It's Time For A New Campaign Ad
It would be the answer to prayer if Election Day arrived before Halloween. Campaign advertising has reached a new low. Never before has character assassination been so perfected. I'm all for getting the truth out about a candidate, but this election year I am having a hard time separating the truth from truth that has been stretched, twisted and repackaged.
What are we to think of candidates whose campaign engages in half-truths and downright deception? Do we reward them with our vote or punish them by not voting at all?
The pundits sound like a broken record telling us how Washington has become paralyzed by gridlock and disrespect. And yet, the pundits may be sending us more than one message. I am tempted to believe they are also telling us that now is the time to introduce a new style of campaign ad.
Instead of attack ads that try to make the voter believe the worst about a candidate, I propose a political ad that is limited to a candidate's record and/or what a candidate would do if elected to office. Attacking one's opponent with half truths or no truth would be frowned upon and considered bad form.
The goal of such campaign reform would be to attract a generation of voters who are not voting. That generation is unimpressed at how effectively a political opponent can be destroyed by misinformation. Rather, they are impressed by ads worthy of their vote.
Being honest about a candidate and what a candidate would do once in office is not meant to be an exercise in political naïveté. Instead, it is an attempt to pay the electorate a huge compliment. We entrust the voters with the truth about all the candidates, and then we trust them on Election Day to vote.
Once upon a time, making a political opponent out to be a monster was as laughable as it was ludicrous. Those days may have run their course. What we need today are candidates willing to be truthful about themselves and respectful of their opponents, and when they are that’s when they become worthy of democracy's greatest treasure: Our vote.
Commentator Gus Succop is pastor at Quail Hollow Presbyterian Church.