Tracy (redmouse) wrote,

On negative campaigns.

Around now is when the negative campaigning starts to heat up. And around now is when people start sighing that negative campaigning means we can't get any real information about the candidates anymore. I don't really accept that argument. I believe that we have to be very critical about their words; we have to attempt to figure out what they're trying to accomplish with their words and we have to be vigilant about holding up their claims against the facts. But I also think that it is valid and sound to judge people by the words that they choose to define themselves by, even at this (admittedly petty) stage of the campaign.

So, yes, there's negative campaigning on both sides right now. Here's what Obama's looks like. It's obvious that people on both sides are just in the mood to go "boo." The tactic is the same. They are both criticizing their opponent's character. They're both trying to get you to think the other guy has associated with some dangerous fellows, that he is therefore un-American or dangerous himself, and that he is therefore a bad choice for president.

But most of us have read enough 1984 to recognize what a Two-Minute Hate looks like, and most of us know enough about "Birth of a Nation" to bat an eye when an audience member belts out, "Kill him!"

Say what you will about the validity of negative campaigning in the first place. It's just that there is one side that's relying on fraudulent and mangled information to try to win our trust. More troubling to me, though, is that there is one side that is accepting hateful calls of "Terrorist!" and "Kill him!" as an expression of support for their ticket, and they are smiling wide as it happens.

It's immoral, it's hypocritical, it's hate-mongering, it's disgusting. Maybe negative words are just heat, just words, but I see it as massively irresponsible not to hold words like these against them.
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