I have spent a fairly sizeable portion of the past year becoming the most educated voter I can. I carefully weigh the policy prescriptions of every candidate and, even if I have decided not to vote for one of them, I take care to know his or her stance on the issues.
This morning, what I read on the front page of the New York Times simply insulted me. The Times reported that in a thirty-second campaign television advertisement run by the Republican Party for one-thirtieth of a second the word rats is prominently displayed in larger type than any other messages. This is subliminal advertising of the worst kind. It is petty, classless and simply wrong. It is illegal as well.
George W. Bush claims on his Web page that he wants to give us a fresh start. He claims he wants to restore dignity to the office of president. Unfortunately for the voters, this reformer’s efforts have resulted only in cheap shots and the kind of political mindlessness I have come to expect from our elections. When I ran for class president in high school, there was more humility and dignity in our campaigns than can be expected from the campaigns run by Madison Avenue slobs who have cheapened our electoral process.
When I support my candidates by knocking on my neighbors’ doors, more and more are slammed in my face. This is not exclusively because they do not like my particular candidate. In general, as I attempt to persuade people to engage the electoral process the way I have, I become the embodiment of the insulting, degrading treatment of the voter. Instead of listening, voters simply react, as one should expect. Who wouldn’t be angry when they are considered this way?
Somebody is at an advertising agency in New York City, saying let’s trick the fine people of Washington state into voting for our candidate. We’ll flash `rats’ across the screen. That will make them support our guy! That’s pathetic.
Advertising agencies, political parties and candidates have a responsibility to the voters of this country. Even if the candidate’s poll numbers are starting to drop and the candidate feels like going negative, the least the citizenry can expect is that childish playground insults do not find their way into our subconscious. Such stupidity never scarred me when I was younger, but now that I am a voter, I see the scar this kind of behavior will leave on our electoral process. This has to change, now.