Editorial: Doing a better job of campaigning
Really. They should know better.
The candidates running for office, and their supporters, have thrown away all restraint and call their opponents any name in the book, including buffoons, liars and traitors. They hang their charges upon the thinnest possible thread of evidence (if any) and they ram them home with all the finesse of a sledgehammer.
They should be ashamed of themselves. But you know what? They are not. They are proud of their excesses. They want 1) to steal votes from the other guy or 2) to make supporters (of that other fellow) so sick of politics they stay home and refrain from voting.
Pure democracy? Or pure demagoguery?
We are willing to accept that anyone aspiring to hold public office, especially at the exalted levels of the White House and the U.S. Senate, must want to serve the public. Because the work, for those elected, is heavy. It is time consuming and aging. It is stressful. It can be rewarding.
Those aspiring to hold office also must grow an exceptionally thick skin, because it is likely they will be called, during the heat of a campaign, anything but a child of God.
We accept that most of these men and women who seek and are elected to office are people of integrity who lead honorable private lives.
We understand that being elected initiates a constant effort to be reelected. That money is the game changer. But we do not accept that it is necessary to slander and libel the opposition in order to gain or keep office.
But speaking of game changers, we feel the majority of ordinary citizens who care about their country would welcome a candidate who, accepting the nomination of his or her party to run, stood up and said:
"My fellow Americans. Thank you for your nomination and your trust in me. I hope to earn that trust and your support by telling you who I am and what I stand for. I have an opponent who has worked just as hard for his (or her) party’s nomination as I did for mine. My opponent is a man (or woman) of integrity whose views, and whose party’s views, happen to be different from mine.
"During my campaign I will not denigrate my opponent in any way. I hope to sell myself, not degrade my opponent. It is my hope that my opponent will pledge himself (or herself) to doing the same."
That candidate, win or lose, would be a real winner. Candidates who win on the basis of mudslinging are real losers.
Really, they ought to know better, and do better.