It’s election time in the good old U. S. and A. Nothing particularly interesting is going on in my little piece of the world. There are only about 5 races that I really had to think about who I was going to vote for. The rest were either running unopposed or there was a Libertarian candidate on the ballot. I would never vote party line for either of the prevailing parties, but since there’s really no chance that any of the Libertarians will win, I cast my lot with them to make a point about how I feel about the current power structure.
On of the things I hate about politics is the negative campaign ads. The problem I have isn’t that they are negative, but that they are fundamentally flawed logically. Last night I happened to be watching live TV for a change, when the 11 O’clock news came on. (O.k. I wasn’t exactly watching TV at all, I was editing photos and Laura fell asleep on the couch with the Tivo remote.) Anyway, every commercial between segments of news was a campaign ad. I noticed that none of the commercials told you anything about the platform of the candidate who sponsored the ad. Instead the provided a laundry list of reasons why you shouldn’t vote for the other guy. I don’t have a particular problem with this, if the things they’re saying are true, but hearing reasons not to vote for candidate X does not automatically mean I should vote for candidate Y. I could vote for candidate Z, or if I think the good that candidate X does outweighs the negative, then I could still vote for him (or her). Campaigns bank on this false dichotomy, and far too often it works.
I think it would be interesting to see what elections would be like if candidates weren’t allowed to talk about their opponents in campaign ads. Instead of telling me all the reasons why I shouldn’t vote for the other guy, you would only be able to tell me the reasons why I should vote for you. Candidates could do this voluntarily if they wanted, but I’m not going to hold my breath.