Hey everybody! Long time, no see. My blog has been idle for a couple of months now, but rest assured, my mind has not been.
Most of what I'm going to share here today isn't particularly revelatory; it ain't anything you haven't read or heard or thought of before. But it's been swirling around in my head for a while and I wanted to bang this out before the election.
What I've noticed over the last several months is the television ads the various candidates have run. The fact that they're confusing, contradictory and misleading is a given. What bothers me most is that the majority of the candidates seem to be running ads about their opponent. And these ads invariably pull out some sound-bite, half-truth or bald-faced falsehood, and play it off as truth in order to make their opponent look weak, dishonest or plain ol' stupid. Which leaves it up to us to waste copious amounts of time trying to figure what's true and what's not.
The people who run these campaigns seem to think this strategy is a good thing. Like we'll all just believe what we see in these commercials and will therefore be more likely to make an informed decision when it comes time to vote. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think these "attack-ads" and campaigns of misinformation make the candidates look cheap and petty. Instead of campaigning on their own merits, they resort to mudslinging to make themselves look good by comparison. It's the old "I'm not really good for much of anything but at least I didn't kill anybody" strategy. And I think it sucks. It seems to me the candidate's ad dollars would be better spent letting us know what they've done right rather than what their opponent has done wrong.
Most of us have heard talk of campaign reform at some point. My understanding is that it usually has to do with how funds are raised to finance campaigns. Well, I have a campaign reform suggestion of my own.
Self-promotion: Candidates may only run ads – tv and/or print – about themselves. They may not mention their opponent in any way, shape, or form. If an ad breaking this rule airs or appears in print, the campaign will be fined and will be required to print and/or air a retraction and/or apology.
Ad Cap: A set, limited number of television and print ads may appear during a campaign. If it is discovered that a candidate has run more than the allotted number of ads, the campaign will be fined and lose one advertising slot.
Truth in Advertising: All advertising will feature only truthful statements. An independent fact-checking committee will be formed to confirm the veracity of all claims made in advertising and if a falsehood is knowingly presented, the campaign will be fined and will be required to air or print a retraction.
Money Cap: A set amount of money shall be spent by both campaigns, and said amount will be far less than what candidates have been accustomed to. Once a campaign has raised the maximum amount of financing allowed, they will not be allowed to raise more. If it is determined that a candidate has raised more that the allotted amount, they will be fined double what the overage was.
This reform may or not ever happen, but I surely wish it would. I'm sick to death of having to slog through lies and innuendo in order to try to get to the truth of what the candidates stand for. This kind of campaigning may make the candidates feel better, but it doesn't serve the people at all. And isn't that what this all supposed to be about? Serving the people? It seems to me, most politicians spend far more time serving themselves.