I mentioned in an earlier post my hope for new election laws and processes in the US that will lead to a saner, more reasonable election process and governance model. Primarily, I touted term limits and public funding of elections with a shortened campaign season. I advocate the outlawing of all direct campaign contributions. He or she who has raised the most money has a huge advantage to flood the air waves with negative commercials.
Until then, more of us should make a statement and do what I do in my home and car – mute out the noise from the negative campaign commercials. I started doing this with the many car commercials that appear on TV or the radio. The volume level increases to let the hawker shout out the need to buy a new or used car from their dealership. The mute button is quite powerful in our household in helping us maintain a little sanity.
We have extended the muting to campaign commercials as well, which are almost always negative in nature. I read a quote from a campaign spin doctor who said that most negative ads at best have some half-truths and at worst are totally made up. So, they may not even qualify for Stephen Colbert’s version of “truthiness.” Spin doctor is a euphemism for paid liar in my book and is one reason I tend not to believe what candidates and politicians have to say. I cited earlier Senator John Kyl’s quote that “you should not mistake my comments as factual” when he was caught lying about misrepresented data for Planned Parenthood, an organization that does a huge amount of good.
I get tickled when Mitt Romney accuses others of misrepresenting the facts in negative ads, when he is on record for using a quote President Obama said about his opponent John McCain and portraying it as if Obama said it as a personal statement. Mitt had to pull the ad. And, History professor Newt Gingrich has a history of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Newt tends to forget he was removed from the Speaker of the House role by his own colleagues, which is about as big an indictment to his ability to lead as there is. And, our President will take a few liberties with the truth from time to time as well to perfume a pig. He has his own imperfections.
So, if each of us turns the volume down on all campaign commercials, then the private funders will get the picture that they are wasting their millions of dollars. To do this, you cannot just tune out selectively, you need to mute all ads. The power is liberating and you feel more in control than ever before. And, I can assure you, you are not missing out on anything important. Remember, at best the negative ads are half-truths, which means they are half-lies. The only other thing I would ask you to do is spread the word. This could be a an easy to do movement if we all played along. Then, maybe the powers that be will see we need to do elections in a different way. In today’s internet based world, the old process is in need of change anyway. Please join me – mute out the noise.