Saturday, May 25, 2024

Weir: Attack campaigns have no place in local politics

Columnist Bob Weir

What happens to people during a political campaign? Do they become monsters with a lust for blood? Have you seen some of the literature arriving in the mail lately? Decent people, who put their reputations on the line as they participate in forums, debates, interviews and numerous other strenuous and stressful methods involved in campaigning, find themselves the subject of cruel and mean-spirited accusations. The voting public, many of whom only know what they read and hear, are very likely to believe those glossy, colorful flyers they remove from their mailboxes each day. “John Doe is a bully who once beat up a classmate in junior high school. John is the wrong man for mayor of our town!”

Yes, I’m exaggerating, but, I’m trying to make the point that most of these criticisms are beyond absurd and do nothing but prove the lack of character of the person who engages in them. Look at it this way; if someone is malicious enough to employ defamatory tactics toward a member of the community simply because he/she is a political opponent, what are they saying about themselves? Do you want an odious bomb-thrower representing you in elective office? How would you like to have your family or your neighbors receive one of those hate-filled pieces of trash calling you a thief, a liar, a batterer or other offensive allegations? This is precisely why so many good people don’t get involved in the political process.

Not only is this method of campaigning disgraceful, it’s cowardly! That’s because it’s not sent directly from the repugnant purveyor of the nasty attack; it always comes disguised in some Political Action Committee (PAC) misnomer. In addition, the print on the detestable sliver of junk mail is so small you need an electron microscope to make it out. Meanwhile the candidate that allowed this behavior can hide behind a shield as he/she sticks pins in the opposition, feeling safe from culpability after the shameful assault. That’s tantamount to wiping off your fingerprints after committing a crime. Again, it tells us more about the people engaging in these actions than it does about the people they’re trying to besmirch.

The way I look at it is; if you have something to say about someone, have the courage to put your name on it. To do otherwise is to illustrate an obvious lack of moral fiber. And in case your defense is that you didn’t know the PAC was sending out such contemptible billingsgate, then do the right thing and publicly denounce those who did it. As for me, when I receive those vicious postal handouts I immediately decide that the person who sent it is not someone I would want representing me in any capacity. Moreover, I’m apt to make a point of voting for the person he/she attempted to tarnish.

Bob Weir
Bob Weir
Bob Weir is a former NYPD officer, long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.

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