I don’t know about you, but I for one can’t wait for November 9th. Before you correct me, I know that November 8th is election day. I can’t wait for the day after for two reasons. One, I will hopefully realize that my prayers have been answered, well maybe some of them. And two, that these horrible campaign ads will finally stop invading my spaces; my TV, my phone, my email, my streaming services, and even my game apps. I am tired of being bombarded with fear mongering commercials that play to the darkest regions of my soul where lies my primordial fears and urges. I am worn out trying to stay optimistic in the face of these hateful negative ads. What ever happened to decency when it comes to these attacks on the opponent’s character and for that matter what has happened to campaign promises? I’d actually welcome a few of those promises even if they are unlikely to be kept. Anything is better than the hate messages.
When I was still in my working career as a financial planner, I had to be extremely careful about anything I stated or committed to in writing when it came to describing the delivery of my services. In fact, even if I was careful to be entirely honest, everything still went through compliance where any and all statements were scrutinized for any distortions or false promises. It was common practice and fully expected and respected. My question is, why are these campaign ads not subjected to at least a semblance of compliance? Do the candidates and their third party pacts have no time to check the validity of their statements? Or is it, that truth doesn’t sell when it comes to politics? These ads splice in sound bites that have nothing to do with the issue or are at the very least distorted into half truths. They leave it up to the voter to do the research, case in point, I did a recent lookup on “cash bail” and the reasons behind changing that system. Please take the time to look that one up for yourself. It is enlightening when you choose a neutral site. Here’s the problem with the belief that the voter will do the research, its highly unlikely that they will and the candidate or the supporting pact hopes they don’t. If they did, the scare tactic would lose its impact and the voter might actually stop believing anything the candidate is saying.
So integrity compliance is one issue, but the shear volumes of money thrown at these ads is, in my opinion, a moral crisis. Ask any nonprofit how hard it is for them to raise funds to provide the services that the government can’t afford and they will tell you it is in many cases heartbreaking at best and in some cases the direct cause of their demise. A school system begs for a million dollars in aid so that they can deliver the education the public demands all too often forced to deliver it in aging buildings. Meanwhile, federal and state legislators vote no to the very programs and referendums that would help to level the playing field between the haves and have nots. And all of this, while we the public and all too often the biggest corporations adorn them with campaign war chests that could fund hundreds if not thousands of worthy causes. They then turn around and pour those dollars into the very campaign ads I just railed against.
Here’s my parting thought. What if the requirement that the ads had to be complied by an outside research service actually resulted in the ads never being allowed. The money wouldn’t need to be spent on airing them and maybe we would give our hard earned dollars to better causes. And if the ad was to pass compliance, it might just be forced to rely on information about the candidate and their beliefs rather than the current practice of relying on your ability to paint the other candidate as evil incarnate leaving you, by default, as the only choice I have as a voter. You don’t need to agree with me, but think about it.