We spend millions of dollars and a good portion of early childhood development, even into the high school years, teaching the importance of self-esteem and being careful not to hurt or offend others. Yet as adults, politicians go out of their way to hurt and offend others, no longer caring about self-esteem issues. Actually issues are one of the major pieces of the political pie that are missing, but political parties don’t care about issues, they care about winning.
Is it better to win votes by getting people to fear and/or hate your opponent, than to win an election based on issues? I suppose that this type of win can make governing much easier as no one knows the newly elected candidate’s positions, and expectations are low. We are just glad that we didn’t elect the piece of garbage running against him, or her.
Obviously the candidates wash their hands of these attack ads, and blame the various political action committees running them. Sometimes the candidate will bravely step forward blaming an overzealous supporter for sending out a letter claiming an opponent beats his wife and fathered puppies out of wedlock. However, after the hand wringing apology, have any candidates actually put a stop to this activity?
Do politicians really believe we are that dumb and that the public can’t see through the deception? They must, and given the election results it works. Perhaps in the end we are not dumb, just worn down by the constant campaigning and the 24/7 news cycle that drones on and on. Eventually it all just becomes background noise that we all ignore, to our own peril.