As we are coming into a long election season, less desirable aspects of the season may already be rearing their ugly heads.
Having been in local and state politics since the late 1980’s (School Board, County Council, State Cabinet Secretary, and State Representative), I see that the tone of political campaigns since 2010 has changed.
Campaigns, even at the local level, have become more partisan, strident, and occasionally vicious.
Too often they are no longer about capabilities, experience, and effectiveness, but are litmus tests of party affiliation, slogans, and rigid principles (often with little applicability locally). Simplistic characterizations (often mischaracterizations) of people, policies, and programs take precedence–opponents are not wrong, but evil, and must be destroyed.
I have been asked to support some local candidates and have attended some candidates’ meetings. I will support those who, in my opinion, have the highest chance of improving local and state governance and making government more effective for our community.
Having been subjected to vicious personal attacks and seen it in other recent campaigns, I have told those asking for my support that I will not support such tactics.
Actual governance is difficult and complex. I suggest people look at major issues in our community and state, look at proposed solutions, ask questions of candidates, then listen carefully. Simply putting up strawmen (women), sloganeering, and demeaning/destroying opponents are poor strategies for our future.