“What happened to the grand ole days of promoting the issues and what you would do to address them?” Last Tuesday, Nov. 19, Mr. Eric Oliver posed this question in his editorial as he despaired over the mudslinging that politicians take part in over the medium of television. In response, I quote that renowned Old Testament aphorism: “There is nothing new under the sun.”
To blame television for politicians’ negative antics is the equivalent of blaming murder on knives. The reality is that politicians of every age have waged petty attacks on their opponents. Even our country’s founding fathers couldn’t resist; Thomas Jefferson called John Adams “a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” In all likelihood politicians will continue to do so for as long as the democratic process exists.
What should be more upsetting to Mr. Oliver is the fact that so many voters are willing to be swayed by such frivolous campaigns. If I had a penny for every time I heard somebody say, “I hate politics,” I would be able to win an election with one of the expensive, negative campaigns Mr. Oliver detests. Such people choose to be ignorant and indifferent; if instead they made themselves informed and involved, our politicians’ campaigns would be vastly different because they would be addressing a more highly educated electorate. For the time being, many voters are not taking the time to understand politicians’ principles and convictions; until they do, politicians will continue trying to grab their attention with mudslinging, just like in “the grand ole days.”
Ryan Murphy is a freshman in the College of Business Administration.