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A Balcony View: Turned off by negative campaigning

October 19, 2010|By Gary Huerta

I had a bizarre thought the other day. Actually, I have unusual thoughts every day, but this one particular notion was fueled by my contribution to last weekend's In Theory section of the paper.

The topic for debate was cyber bullying. I chose to focus less on the cyber medium itself, and more on the act of bullying, and how good self-esteem can be used as an effective tool in the battle against those who intimidate, whether it's on the playground or in an e-mail.

My rationale got me to thinking about the climate of negativity in our political arena. Is it possible to stop the verbal assault and battery that candidates wage upon one another during election seasons?


It seems there's no other profession where this kind of taunting behavior is even practiced, much less acceptable. I take that back. Negative, irrational comments are also acceptable coming from many organized religions. Vengeful gods seem to have a lot in common with gubernatorial candidates these days.

We've become numb to the fact that someone running for governor can call their opponent a "whore," while the other launches an entire website dedicated to multi-directional mudslinging.

"You failed to claim lemonade stand profits as income when you were 12!"

"You allowed your Poodle to sniff other dogs without permission!"

"You're a potty face!"

"You're a double potty face!"

And on and on it goes, with both sides focusing more attention on their opponents than on the issues. To be honest, with all the inane negative advertising flying around, about the only thing I do know about either candidate running for governor of our state is that I wish both of them would stop talking about each other and start talking more about the many unresolved issues.

Simply put, I lack the ability to make an informed decision based on schoolyard taunting.

Imagine the following scenario: You need open heart surgery. You go to see a surgeon. He examines you. To get a measure of confidence, you ask him about his experience, and he says this:

"Well, I'd say you want to use me because the surgeon on the third floor drives a Prius. Do you really want a self-righteous Prius driver cracking open your chest?"

I do admit, I'd love to go on my next writing interview and state my qualifications based solely on negative comments about my fellow writers.

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