OCTOBER 10, 2007
THE DEMAND FOR VICIOUS POLITICS
You can always tell when the November General Election is drawing nigh. The leaves begin to turn from green to yellows, browns and oranges and fall from the trees. The days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to get cooler in spells. And then, of course, the true tell-tale sign that the electioneering has reached a fever pitch: the mud starts flying.
Everyone starts out in the fresh days of Spring announcing their candidacy and vowing that theirs will be a positive campaign run on the issues. They promise not to go negative in their efforts to win elective office. Then as time wears on and desperation sets in somebody starts making their opponent sound like someone who would smother their own mother with a pillow while she slept.
Not to be outdone, the object of their vilification starts taking all the dirt they can dredge up and lobbing heaps of allegations of dastardly deeds against their nemesis.
Then the political parties and action groups wade in. Before it's over one has to wonder how such a group of vile and despicable examples of humanity could ever have had the audacity to run for public office to begin with.
Everywhere you look candidates are digging trenches for their opponents to stand in so they themselves can look taller. Forgotten are the ideas and ideals of idealistic public service. Here to stay are the hard to forget images of villainous politicians with sinister motives of self interest out to make themselves and their friends rich on the backs of the poor tax payers.
And the public decries negative campaigning, while mounds of reputable research show that it works. It always has worked. Apparently there is something in human nature that makes the majority want to believe the worst. And we wonder how government got so vicious. It is because, regardless of what we say, we demand it.