A young friend of mine describes this election as a choice between "a party of idiots and racists" and "a party of cowards and socialists". Many young people tell me that the campaigns are so negative, they have shut it all off.
We need some limits on what political ads can and cannot say. The best ads show a candidate, speaking only for him or herself, being specific about what he or she stands for. The worst ads speak about an opponent. These are the ads most prone to bias, distortion, exaggeration and downright lies.
As voters, we should be very skeptical about any ad that tells us what an opponent stands for. Does anyone really believe that any candidate can and would raise the price of gasoline to $13 a gallon? Does anyone really believe that any candidate can and would destroy Social Security?
To our politicians: Please dial down the rhetoric. Stop trying to portray your opponent as someone who supports extremism, radicalism and violence. Instill hope by casting your own vision for the future. Give us specifics about what you would do. Instead of telling us that your opponent is trying to incite violence, tell us how you will inspire nonviolence.
A healthy democracy relies on an informed electorate. If we want our young people to pay attention, and vote, we need campaign reform.
Dan R. Ebener
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