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Mudslingers unite! Voters should expect honest, respectful campaigns


(This story originally ran in 2018, but it seems appropriate to post it again as we get closer to the election season.)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Well, really of every two and four years.
Yes, that amazing tenet of democracy is once again upon us when we, as free citizens, are given the privilege to vote into office the people with whom we agree most.
It’s when we can be proud that we live in a society where every single candidate can exercise their constitutional right … to let the rest of us know how truly awful the other guy is.
How, if we vote for “that candidate” – our world will simply tear apart at its seams and democracy as we know it will fade into history.
Why, haven’t you heard that person voted this way and didn’t vote the other way, and they (God forbid) – even made a few mistakes when they were fresh out of college?!
I, for one, am fed up with this modern-day political myopic mudslinging. Yes, it’s always been around. Since the dawn of human history, one human has tried to convince other humans they are better than others. Even in the animal kingdom, this competition is evident – and it’s true that some animals, (four-footed and two-footed) are in fact, better-suited for the job.
But, at least one thing sets us apart from those “other” animals who compete simply to survive and propagate their gene pools. When furry critters of all sizes do this, I’m unaware of a single species that tries its level best to denigrate and belittle their competitors for a mate, or when trying to secure food for themselves and their families to survive.
Not a single species.
When animals compete, the males often go to exorbitant measures to convince a female they’re the best guy for the job. They strut their stuff and fluff their feathers. They fight the other males, and sometimes even kill them for the opportunity to get the mate, or the food, or the territory.
But, you’ll never see woodland creatures running ads on national television to let the others know just what a total jerk their competitors are. Animals (the furry kind) simply let their communities know they are the best suited for the job.
How different our American political climate would be if we’d stop trying to show the world how bad the other guy is and spend half the effort concentrating on how well-qualified we are to hold public office.
I would love to hear one (just one!) ad where the candidate says, “My competitors are fine people, and I respect them greatly. Here are my qualifications. I believe these make me the best choice to serve as your elected official for this upcoming term.”
Yes, I know. I live in a make-believe world where people genuinely care about each other and have others’ best interests in mind. In that world, civility is still exalted, and high ideals govern our decisions. In that world, no one need cut down the other person to make themselves look better.
My “vote” would be for Bert Bacharach to write the theme for this election period. If a candidate’s ad content doesn’t meet Bert’s guidelines, stay off the air, and out of public office:
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love…”
Craig R. Seaton is a singer, songwriter and writer who lives in Orange Park.