In less than 36 hours, the polls will open on Tuesday at 7 AM, Election Day. Soon it will be up to us, the voters.
Although I encourage everyone to take their voice to the polls on Tuesday, I admit that this political campaign season has disappointed. Some would suggest that negative campaigning is the way to mobilize the partisan base. Perhaps, but where does that leave the independent and swing voters? Emotion-packed or personal attacks on campaign mailers play a different role than policy-based attacks.
The political rhetoric in this country has become too vitriolic . . . we are losing the ability to discuss things with civility. The poisonous rhetoric is everywhere; turn on CNN or read the New York Times . . . ‘our national discourse’ has tumbled to new lows. Regrettably, it is not limited to the national campaigns but it is right here; in our own backyard.
Certainly some of the campaign mailers and political signs have made good points, but it is the way they are presented. The politicos are not trying to reach us intellectually; they want to draw on our emotions – make us afraid, angry, anxious.
We all understand that a natural part of any political campaign is opposition research. After all, a candidate has to make a case to the voter that they are the more experienced, the better prepared, and the best ‘choice’. Therefore, we should not be surprised that the next step is for the campaign camps to feel pressure to let voters know “the truth” about their opponent, especially if that person has already gone negative. The pressure builds between the opposing sides. One side attacks and then the other side feels they have little choice but to respond in kind. Yes, that is the name of the game . . . politics.
Often times during this campaign season, I watched with sadness as members of this community lobbied attacks against each other. It is such a shame, because for every minute a candidate spends attacking his opponent that is one less minute that could be spent talking about legitimate differences on policy issues that actually affect the voters. Speaking of differences between the sides – at times it has appeared the candidates were more similar than different.
Where does all this leave us for Election Day; what is a voter to do? There are no campaign enforcement police making sure everyone is telling the truth. My hope for all of you who hold the privilege to vote is to think for yourself. Do a little research and use that developed human brain of yours. Please try not to be influenced by the negative campaign ads. Your vote is worth more than a nay saying ad or a half-truth campaign mailer.
Think for yourself, beyond what your neighbor, your friend or co-worker favors. Know the candidates and support those who have shown principled behavior. Exercise your right to vote in a sane, thoughtful manner and make your vote count this Tuesday!
It is now up to ‘us’ . . . the voters.