Campaign negativity, division are disturbingIt’s an unfortunate fact that Americans are accustomed to seeing political campaigns grow increasingly negative in the final days before an election. However, there was evidence of a line of attack emerging in the presidential race that was truly disturbing.
By: Yankton (S.D.) Press & Dakotan, The Jamestown Sun
It’s an unfortunate fact that Americans are accustomed to seeing political campaigns grow increasingly negative in the final days before an election. However, there was evidence of a line of attack emerging in the presidential race that was truly disturbing.
First, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, speaking at a fundraiser in North Carolina, told supporters how much she enjoyed visiting “pro-America areas of the country.” It left some people to ask which areas of this nation the Alaska governor deemed not “pro-American.”
The next day, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota tapped the issue more bluntly. Appearing on the MSNBC program “Hardball,” she accused Barack Obama and his wife of anti-American views. Unfortunately for Rep. Bachmann, she made this comment to “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, who is renowned for tearing into such rhetorical red meat when it’s served up. She said the media should investigate members of Congress to “find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.”
It’s one thing for politicians to criticize one another on their plans, their experience and their temperament to hold a job. It goes with the territory.
But when labels like “pro-American” and “anti-American” come out — even offhandedly — our political mechanics careen down a dangerous path.
While it would be hypocritical to damn such tactics themselves as un-American, it would be fair to say that they plunge the soul of our democracy in a far lesser and far from noble light.
Ours is a nation of countless horizons, with room for many ideas and many points of view. There are numerous lines of attack for one candidate to use against another concerning the issues that affect us all. But when insinuations or outright accusations of being un-American are brought to the playing field, the campaign has gone nuclear, so to speak. This can get beyond ugly very quickly, and it should have no room in our process.