Dave Richards for October 16th…………….
--The political season is heating up. I’m happy to say that most of the candidates in our local races are conducting themselves with civility. Not so in the broadcast advertising for candidates in the statewide and federal races.
If I could hear or see one of the candidates for Rhode Island Governor stand before and tell me what they would do if they were elected, I’d be able to make a better decision. Instead I am disgusted as Political Action Committees demonize the candidates they don’t like. Look, nobody can be as good as their supporters make them out to be nor as bad as their opponent’s supporters try to make them look. People are people. We all have our good points and our points which need some work.
I suppose I should be somewhat comforted by the fact that neither Mr. Fung nor Ms. Raimondo are actually paying for these hate-filled commercials. Political Action Committees are doing that. Nothing stops the Political Action Committee from spreading hate in broadcast advertisements.
It is only relatively recently in this country’s history that political action committees have been able to act like angry mobs devoid of reason in their support of a candidate they like. Even the candidates themselves cannot stop the PACs from spreading their hatred and mis-information. And PACs supporting candidates on both sides are doing it. In fact, the ads from the PACs are on the air far more frequently than ads from the candidates themselves.
When this PAC advertising started, I thought it would die out a natural death. I mean, nobody would believe such outrageous claims, the PACs would certainly realize they’re wasting their money. But no, the public took the ads as entertainment, a kind of professional wrestling exhibition, so they continue on.
But I’m here to tell you that electing people to run our country isn’t an entertainment. What entertainment can there be in claiming a woman who is a mother kills babies for political reasons? Or that a person would blindly follow a president simply because they come from the same political party?
I can tell you that if I were a governor I would want to dispatch my congressional delegation back to Washington, D.C. with orders to put an end to this legalized character assassination. Just the mere fact that anyone would claim that a mother is a careless baby killer proves to me that whatever allows them to say those things is wrong.
But wait. Having said that, I realize that my thinking is wrong. Because the thing that allows the PACs to say those awful things about another human being is the U.S. Constitution. So the answer is not that we need a law to stop it. The answer is that we need to show our disapproval at the ballot box. Vote for neither of the candidates whose political supporters are spreading hatred instead of promoting the positive things their candidate will do if elected. Vote for the third candidate if you wish. Vote for no one in that race if that seems to be the thing to do. But promise me you’ll show up at the polls and refuse to vote for hatred. Vote only for candidates whose supporters do not spread hate. It’s the only way to stop the hatred.
You may say to yourself, “nice words, Dave, but you’re dreaming.” If you think that, you are right. I am dreaming. I’m dreaming of a day when public figures conduct themselves within the due bounds of civility. It can happen, so long as those of us who want it happen engage the support of others who also want it. There are more of those people out there than you may think.
One such organization is the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. I take my hat off to John Gregory and his organization who have organized a morning forum later this month at which all three candidates for governor have pledged to appear. This will be a forum where all three candidates can stand up before the crowd and tell the audience what they will DO if elected. Strict controls have been placed on the forum to promote decorum. Only one candidate will be in the room at one time, so arguments between them should be curbed. They will answer questions about the issues of running the state designed to educate the listener as to what they may expect if that candidate becomes governor. It is not meant to be an entertainment. It shouldn’t be.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had the job responsibility of interviewing job applicants. But if you have, I’m sure you’ll agree that about the last thing you would want was an applicant which came in and went on an on why it would be a big mistake if another candidate got the job instead of them. And if the applicant at the interview spent all their time in the interview poking fun at the other job applicants, do you suppose you’d hire them? I don’t think so. Well, that’s precisely what we citizens are doing at the ballot box. We are hiring people to work for us. We should do it as soberly as we can.
At least the Northern Rhode Island Chamber is trying to set the example. I think we should all support this effort in all organizations. Reject hatred from any side. Set the tone for seriousness in the job selection process, don’t seek entertainment. Look for the answers which will help you hire the right person for the job.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading.