I’m an avid and frustrated follower of U.S. politics with one hope at the outset of every campaign — keep positive and substantive so we can focus on real political issues and solutions. Instead the media and public fixate continually on character flaws and avoid relevant and important political issues.
I was truly saddened when the Access Hollywood video surfaced as I knew the cavalcade of negativity that would result. Predictably, it became a story of enormous proportions, as did a single-page letter from the FBI talking vaguely about unseen emails. I don’t support the candidates’ character flaws, but we shouldn’t base our political discourse on endless speculation of salacious side stories. The extended campaign season hit epic lows long ago. But these stories hit me hard and felt like early memories of watching the TV commercial of a Native American shedding a tear while watching people littering on his homeland. The pathetic thing is that time and again we are the ones watching ourselves degrade our own electoral process with negative campaigning. The massive imbalance of media attention on superficiality over substance is proof of this — it’s saddening and maddening.
We should focus on relevant political issues, and journalists should do their jobs and force candidates to answer difficult policy questions. Our Electoral Buggy is chained to runaway gossip horses on the left and the right that are tearing the system apart. Let’s break the chains, keep sordid details for political humorists, and focus on the road ahead.