Political Attack Ads Create A More Hostile US Government
In the United States, the height of election season is upon us. Mitt Romney is officially the GOP candidate for presidency, running against President Barack Obama, as well as Gary Johnson for the Libertarian party, and Jill Stein for the Green party. Each candidate believes that they would be the best leader for the country, but rather than tell us why that is, they instead resort to attacking their opponents.
That’s not to say that they don’t inform the public of their strengths and why they would be a better president than the others. They do. But the typical campaign strategy seems to rely more on honing in on their opponents shortcomings and failures. If you live in the US, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve seen this ad recently:
Or this one:
What I don’t like about these ads is that they turn the election into a prize to be won, and the lying that goes on within them isn’t making me feel any better. And while this is indeed a sort of competition, it’s about far more than just beating one’s opponent. When someone runs for political office, they’re running for a leadership position, one in which they have influence on our society, our economy, and our lives. How am I to believe that this person running for office is going to make our society better when their entire campaign is focused on the other guy?
In the Senate race in Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown and candidate Elizabeth Warren signed an agreement to discourage third-party groups from running ads, which usually turn out to be attack ads. The result? Two campaigns focused on why they are the best choice for the job, not on why the other doesn’t deserve it.
Think of it like a job interview, only on a much bigger scale. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t walk into an interview and start trashing the other people they’ve interviewed. Doing so would only serve to tell my potential employer that I’m mean, catty, and would create a hostile work environment. That’s why in interviews, we focus on highlighting our strengths and showing the interviewer what we can bring to the table.
President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, September 1976
Elections should play out the same way. Have you noticed how hostile the US government is? We’ve got a Congress that refuses to compromise with the President and representatives accusing cabinet staff of having ties to terrorist groups. Political attack ads only serve to reinforce this hostility rather than settle it. I don’t want a government that continues to be aggressive. I don’t want a government that’s unreceptive to compromise. I want a government that can work together to make our society better and more livable. If they can’t even work together pre-election day, why should we believe that they can work together once they are elected? Well, we shouldn’t.
This isn’t a game. Getting elected is not a prize. This is a country that needs honest, civil leadership.
Am I being idealistic? Perhaps. But am I asking for too much? Absolutely not. How are we supposed to make any progress as a nation if our elected officials hate each other so much they can’t find any middle ground and work with that? Conservative, liberal, and everywhere in between—each has strengths and weaknesses. Focusing only on weaknesses has us running around in circles. US politicians want to boast about this being the “greatest country on Earth” (except it’s not), but they can’t cooperate long enough to make it so.
It starts with honest, confident campaigns. Not with lies, hate, and tearing each other down. Don’t we deserve that?
What are your thoughts on political attack ads? Are they a necessary evil, or do they just serve to increase hostility between the parties? Leave a comment and share!
All opinions expressed in editorials belong solely to that of the author and do not reflect the views of Feminspire and its staff as a whole.