Dear elected officials and future candidates,
I am a 28-year-old American citizen. I have a four-year degree from a reputable university. I have a job, and I am also a registered voter with the power to provide you with yours.
What I am about to tell you may not be the same feeling your constituents have, but I bet it’s not far off.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will start by saying I hate politics. However, since I am a registered voter who happens to love America and enjoys living here, I try to pay attention to the direction the country is heading.
I won’t go into all of the things I noticed about several candidates’ campaigns during my state’s recent primary, but I do want to make you aware of what I believe to be one of the most rampant and troubling issues.
There is, in my opinion, too much mudslinging.
I realize mudslinging is par for the course, especially during election season, but please allow me to tell you why I believe it has gotten out of hand.
In my county, the primary election passed with little fanfare and I appreciated it. In the next county, where I went to school and currently work, all hell nearly broke loose and left me praying for the polls to close.
There was a hotly-contested election. Some things happened well ahead of it, and they didn’t help matters. Basically the county voters found themselves embroiled in a war of words and rumors, which leads me to the mudslinging.
Believe me, I understand the importance of advertising. It goes a long way in paying my salary, as a matter of fact.
My problem is not with the ads, but with their content. For weeks prior to election day, politicians or “friends of” politicians paid for commercials and spent nearly every second of air time trying to make their opponents look like they kill kittens for a living.
I ask you, what good does this do?
If I care enough to know whether a candidate has skeletons in his closet, I will do some research and find out for myself. More than likely, I’m not going to just take your word for it. You are a politician, after all.
I’m sure you and your camps spend a sizable chunk of change on those commercials. My family always taught me to spend my money wisely so I thought I’d share a few things I think will help you make better use of your advertising dollars in the future.
Stop ripping your opponent. No one likes a bully or a tattletale, and the world has too many of both.
Stop telling me what your opponent did, and start telling me what you’ve done. If you’re an incumbent, I want to know how you’ve helped me. I want to know what you’ve done to make the place I live and love better while you represented me, not what you think your opponent will do or has done to make it worse. If you are a challenger, I want to know your plans to leave the people you’re trying to represent in better shape than you found them.
Stop showing me where your opponent fell, and start helping me see where you stand. I don’t need you to tell me who’s funding your opponent’s campaign and why he or she is scum because of it, but I want you to freely tell me who’s funding yours. I need to know why I should give you my vote and trust you to be my voice. I need to know whether the issues I think are important are important to you, too. I need to know how you feel about those issues. I need to know the truth, not what you think you need to say to get elected.
Those are just a few things I’d like you to consider as an elected official. I’d also like you to consider this. I don’t remember seeing many ads from my county featuring candidates ripping their opponents.
People say you don’t have the right to complain if you don’t vote, and I believe that is true. I didn’t vote in this primary, but I think the elected officials in my county have done a pretty good job under the circumstances and I don’t feel the need to complain.
I wasn’t the only one who didn’t show up to the polls, though.
The county I mentioned earlier has about 28,000 registered voters, and only 8,208 cast a ballot.
If they felt the way I felt after having to endure some of those primary campaigns, I hope they stayed home to prove a point.