Reading, thinking key to your vote
October 17, 2018
Take two people who are decent, long-serving public servants and have them compete for political office, and what do you get?
You get two scheming, reprehensible, back-stabbing scoundrels who are consciously trying to hurt voters and taxpayers by pocketing their tax money or giving it to rich cronies.
That’s what campaigning in America has become, especially in the final weeks before an election.
So what is it? Are they all good guys and gals doing the best they can, or are they all on the take?
That’s the choice that sinister attack ads try to force us to make.
Let’s face it. Attack ads aren’t meant to appeal to people who read and think.
Their appeal is to people who have allowed ignorance to make them suspicious of everything without checking into things like facts and weighing one set of facts against another.
They aren’t meant to appeal to people who respect knowledge and judgment.
They are meant to appeal to know-it-alls who don’t need to learn anything and who depend on their like-minded friends for their opinions.
They are meant to appeal to people who think that dietary supplements and “clinically proven” fish-oil tablets can substitute for proper diet and exercise.
Or those who consider health advice from official, federal sources as coercion of some kind.
They are meant to appeal to people who don’t get their children vaccinated because somebody told them vaccines cause autism.
The latest medical research indicates otherwise, but too many among the willfully ignorant don’t believe that people who have dedicated decades of their lives to science and research know any more than they do about health and medicine.
Some attack ads appeal to people who think their kids should not read about Democrats because it might turn them into Islamo-fascist tools of the communist deep state.
Others appeal to people who don’t think their kids should learn about our country’s past leaders just because most of them were white.
Attack ads appeal to the worst in our nature by trying to make us assume the worst about the people we elect to office.
As a journalist, I have had the opportunity to meet with candidates from both sides of the aisle, and I have found that just about all of them are conscientious and proud of their specific knowledge about many issues. Most take great pride in their ability to serve.
Up until recently, debates in Congress were boxing matches — hard fought but with respect for rules and protocols and in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Now, they’re like ultimate fighting championship matches — no holds barred, based on power plays instead of debate and with a contemptuous take-no-prisoners attitude that leaves no room for coming together for mutual benefit later.
That’s what they have to do to appeal to their “bases,” the people who are persuaded to vote for them reliably through the distortion of attack ads.
There’s another definition “base” that is closer to “lowest common denominator.”
When we rely on attack ads to decide whom we are electing to office, we find ourselves in political bases that come closer to the second definition.
Please, read, think and deliberate before you vote.
Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: