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Is Political Advertising Going Too Far and Crossing a Line?

Election day
Scott Olson, Getty Images

Election Day is Tuesday and based on what I hear from everyone, not a moment too soon. As with every election, we are being bombarded with political ads about candidates, issues and propositions, all of which have taken a very negative turn in recent years to the point of absurdity. I am certainly not going to identify any one candidate’s ad because all of them take aim at their opponent that anymore seems to be unfair, cruel, mostly untrue and just plain wrong on so many levels. These are called attack ads and my question is, have we reached the point of enough is enough with these these types of mudslinging campaigns?

Long gone are the days when candidates talked about the basic differences that separate them from their opponent and provided at least some information to help the voters make an informed decision…LONG GONE! Don’t get me wrong, misinformation and misdirection have been a part of the election process since day one and it always will be, but something has got to change with how these ads are presented in today’s world.

When you see an ad for any candidate, it seems the intent of the ad is to completely demonize the other guy as the most horrible, vile, disgusting person in the history of the world as we know it. The ads take bits and pieces of things that are said by one candidate and put back together in a way that is in most cases, completely inaccurate, if not completely and totally wrong. It’s a wonder that nobody has ever been prosecuted for some of the things that are ‘eluded’ to in the ads.

If you are running for office anymore, you can basically create ads to make your opponent sound any way you want him to and he will and can do the same to you… it’s frightening, isn’t it? It is no wonder that voter apathy is at it’s highest level and explains why some people just simply refuse to vote. It’s almost impossible to know where a particular candidate stands on any one issue. They say what will get them elected, not necessarily  what they actually believe or even what they will actually do if elected.

The only way to be able to make an informed decision is to do your research about the things that mean the most to you and know the facts. Never rely on the candidates to give you the facts, because all you get from them is a manufactured version of the facts.

A system similar to the one used in some European countries that ban any type of paid political advertising would be awesome in this country. In those countries, the candidates have to do all of the campaigning themselves and they cannot pay for airtime, there are no political signs on every street corner and in every front yard. They can only take their case to the people by being out among the people. They will still slam each other like nobody’s business, but the tone is a little more subdued and the voters are not subjected to all of those ads on TV and radio.

What we are seeing today is shameful, disrespectful and unfair to voters and candidates alike. Is it so unreasonable to think that there has to be a better way? Let’s hope there is.

 

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