The Message of Negative Political Ads

The political campaign season is underway in the United States. It brings with it political advertising as candidates at all levels vie for your vote. Over the next few months almost every commercial break will include a negative ad from a candidate disparaging their opponent.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending how you look at it), I have become immune to the obnoxiousness of political ads in general. It helps that I rarely watch live TV and have the magical power that is the fast forward button, but occasionally, I will catch a political ad or two.

It used to bother me that candidates resort to trashing their opponent to portray themselves in a better light. I know we are all guilty of this in some way or another, but it seems particularly absurd to get votes for government positions by saying horrible things about the other party. Even worse, much of what is said is exaggerated or completely untrue.

But, like I said, I am fairly immune to that craziness.

The completely disturbing ads are the ones meant to tear down an opponent, but in reality, degrades entire groups of people. Like that ads that imply you should vote for one candidate because the opponent supports the rights of [fill in almost any group of people].

I question the person’s character who allows these words. Attacks directed solely at the opponent are bad enough, but when a candidate targets a group of people to make him or herself look like the better choice, the character in question just got a little more contemptible. These ads allow discrimination and hate to fester.

And we don’t need any more discrimination and hate.

These political ads are not the problem nor would their removal be the solution. We must take a harder look at the person behind the ads. This post is not singling out any one person, any one campaign, any one party, or any one election, but you should.

You should look at the people running for an office that affects you. You should look at not only their past, but their present and what they plan for the future.

Do your own research. We each have the responsibility to learn about the people who might represent us.

I welcome any comments you have, but please do not mention specific names of candidates. Thank you.

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