By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –
Negative political ads pollute and debase the political process of our great democracy. It is little wonder that the average citizen thinks our election procedure has become a joke, a necessary evil, when you hear that more than twenty million dollars were spent in negative advertising in the Florida Presidential Primary.
But are resignation and acceptance on the part of those vying to lead us doing us more damage than good?
The body politic impacts our lives in all its aspects from where our kids go to school, what cash is left from our paycheck to improve our standard of living, to the quality and bacteria-free food we put on our tables for our family members to eat. If one merely stops to think, it becomes abundantly clear that decisions made by politicians every day, at every level of government are felt in our daily lives. There are few or no exceptions.
Whatever the beliefs the ordinary citizen holds, suffice it to say they usually carry overtones that are negative due to the manner much of the political actions are performed now at all levels. The wicked or awful deeds of the few, too frequently, over shadow the great of the bulk.
Politics wasn’t only an honest and patriotic procedure when the great Greek philosopher, Plato, wrote the seminal book, The Republic, on government and the part of citizens in ruling, it represented the life blood of a society that was healthy. Politics meant active, those deliberations, occasionally vigorous and energetic discussions, among citizens who searched to ascertain and promote the best good for the greatest number with each policy decision made.
Two things are essentially different in our society today and they may be reflected at all levels of government. First engagement and citizen interest in their government’s wellbeing falls. Fewer people bother to vote. Many cannot tell you who their city, state, or national elected officials are.
Secondly, consistent low voter turnout symbolizes the feeling and maybe unconcern, on the part of quite a few citizens. Somehow, too many citizens feel that their participation or vote will not make much difference anyhow. This deep-seated feeling of impotency, or even helplessness, is the most insidious and possibly dangerous tendency of all particularly for people at a disadvantage economically, socially, and educationally.
The consequences of non participation in politics and the political process are serious and lasting. It is difficult for voters to hold many elected officials liable once they get.
The crucial question in the upcoming elections is: Can we manage to continue to be a spectator rather than a participant, irrespective of how disgusting some aspects of the procedure have become?
Secondly, consistent low voter turnout represents the feeling of powerlessness, and perhaps unconcern, on the part of many of our citizens. Somehow, too many citizens feel that their involvement or vote will not make much of a difference anyway. This deep-seated feeling of impotency, if not helplessness, is the most insidious and potentially harmful trend of all — particularly for those who are already at a disadvantage economically, socially, and educationally.
But too frequently, we don’t want to have anything to do with it. And little wonder when you look at the election and political procedure today. What is allowed with regard to untrue, negative, and distorted advertising is an insult.
Sadly, with the behavior of Congress and now candidates on the campaign trail, whenever we learn the word politics, a lot of things probably come to mind: the frequently grandiose assurances candidates make to get elected or re-elected to office, simply to forget or ignore those same assurances once in office. Or we think of the strategies, approaches, and contributions big business put in place to get concessions from governmental things at the average citizen’s expense. Have a look at their skill to set vast amounts into a campaign to sway the result through untrue and negative political advertisements and the political packs.
These practices are further confounded by the continuous parade of elected officials enticed by the temptation to line their own pockets, or those of family and their friends, or they insist on indulging in unsavory and unethical behaviors. The profile of the current Congress shows the abundance whether members came with it or accumulated it since being elected.
Our political process is an inextricable and essential part of our lives, although it appears to be increasingly sliding to a place where negativity and incivility reign. We can’t cut it out. Disenchantment or our apathy with it will not get it to go away.
Afterward isn’t our only feasible choice to affect it, stop the negativity, change it and to get involved?
Edited and Reprinted with Permission of USAonRace.com