Political Season in Sedalia
Kids, as you may or may not remember, today is a big day in terms of our Political Year. Everywhere you look, you see tons and tons of signage for different candidates. On the radio, you hear ad after ad for different campaigns. On the TV, you see back-to-back ads that are sometimes informative, but often just hateful.
It's another reason why I'm glad that here in Sedalia: our politics are, for a lack of a better word, tamer. I haven't heard any negative campaigning from any of our local candidates. One ad even goes so far as to say that the other candidates are good people.
So why is it that ads on the national and statewide level are so mean? Do they really think that is effective? It seems like I can never find one person who says, "Hey, that negative campaign ad I saw on television really made me think." People who do focus groups and polls think they're effective because they're trying to play on fear and disinformation. The average person is smart enough to know better.
Everyone hates political ads, and it just makes us think that the people who are behind them just don't understand what it is that we, their constituents, want to hear or even need to hear. They're off all over the place, campaigning everywhere. They have to hear from myriads of different people who all want different things. After all, the candidates are rarely in one place more than one day when they're "on the circuit."
Meanwhile, I think the main reason that here on the local level, the ads aren't negative is for two basic reasons. One, they're going to hear from people in the area about those ads - good or bad. That means they'll hear from people who say, "I didn't vote for you because of this...." or, "I did vote for you because of this...."
Also, the fact of the matter is, they're going to have to face the people they're campaigning against again. Not just in debates, but in the grocery store. At the bank. At a garage sale. They're going to have to be able to look that fellow candidate in the eye, shake their hand, and know that they didn't say anything terrible about their family or personal beliefs.
I think that's a sticking point a lot of the others don't have. Running for a major office most of the time means that you'll run into your opponent only when you're running against them. There is hardly ever a Lincoln-esque "Team of Rivals," where the opposition is working directly with the office, no matter how large or small it might be.
I don't know about you, but I'm proud to have my little blue sticker on today. It says to me that I've done my bit, no matter how small it may be, to get this representative republic process going again. While I may not take an attack ad to heart, I do take the process to its due course.
I hope you did go out and vote, either way. If you didn't, I hope you will next time.