With Florida’s Governor drawing near, it is easy to find yourself swayed in a particular direction by the biased media’s portrayal of running candidates. Around this time of year, I always seem to find myself overwhelmed and bombarded even more than usual by the media and its take on politics.
This time, I can attribute my sense of overwhelming confusion to the attack ad campaigns that for the most part contain little to no relevance when considering a candidate’s qualifications.
Attack campaigns have grown more and more malicious and ridiculous throughout the years. Attack ads are notorious for being ruthless in their content, slandering candidates by using their religious background, past relationships and family secrets as ammunition.
In all honesty, I will not be voting on candidates based on who I would want to hang out with on a Friday night. I am keeping myself informed and I will vote for the candidate I think possesses great leadership qualities, a strong vision and, overall, who I believe will serve in the position to the best of their ability. A candidate’s sex life is irrelevant when it comes to my decision, and it should be for you, too.
Not only do these ads attack other candidates, they also manipulate the audience and appeal to their fear by exaggerating the current state of the nation. In a sense, they scare people into voting who will then make a rash and unreasonable choice that was not well researched before attending the polls.
One ad that comes to mind when I think of ridiculous analogies that are being presented is the famous “Daisy” campaign ad for President Lyndon B. Johnson, who took office following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963. The ad begins with a little girl counting down as she picks the petals off a daisy. After a moment passes, the counting down is taken over by a male voice who proceeds to countdown until a nuclear bomb is set off and explodes. The ad ends with the president saying “We must either love each other, or we must die.”
It is disheartening to me that ads will often resort to stretching the truth, scaring citizens into voting or slandering an opposing candidate’s reputation instead of producing ads that are fully focused on their own plan concerning what they hope and plan to accomplish during their time in office.
A strong political campaign should be able to stand on its own and focus solely on why a certain candidate is the ideal choice and what makes he or she qualified for the job. A weak political campaign resorts to using biased and unethical arguments aimed at cutting down the opposing candidate in order to make them look better.
I have always been of the opinion that it’s easy to determine who is losing a debate based on the content of a person’s arguments. When a candidate has no other solid arguments to fall back on and resorts to cheap shots at their competition, it is apparent they are falling behind.
My biggest fear is that some people who are voting will only scratch the surface when researching the candidates by only taking into consideration the attack ads they remember seeing and they will not fully educate themselves on the candidates and what they actually stand for.
It is my hope that voters will return to the polls this year fully informed on both candidates not because they kept up with political-attack ad campaigns, but because they did their research, kept up with the debates and are ready to make an informed responsible decision.
That’s what voting is; a responsibility. You owe it to yourself and to your neighbors to make an informed decision by voting for the candidate that aligns with your morals and ideologies and that you feel is most qualified for the position.