Friday, September 19, 2008

Issue of trust!

I can’t remember an election season in which I’ve personally paid as much attention to what is going on with the candidates and their electioneering. Maybe it is because I get a lot of my news from the ‘net and I also now have satellite TV, so I could, if I wanted to, watch news 24/7. Maybe it is because the political ads seem so, well, in-your-face. Maybe it is because Pres. Bush has such a low approval rating and so many people want a change, whatever that means. Just maybe, yes, actually, it is because it seems that the state-of-the-world is so frightening and dangerous these days, that we really do care who are leaders will be and what they stand for.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have always thought that anyone running for president must be a little nuts and unrealistic. That said, I think that one of the qualities that I most want in a president is leadership, i.e. the ability to inspire us all to do more together than we would do on our own. Of course, I pray that our new president will have insight, foresight, and look to the long term good of the world, not just his/her friends, and even, not just for our own country. We need a president who is aware of the rest of the world, the deep poverty and despair in certain areas as well as the “development” and “progress” in other areas. We are no longer the country with the biggest and best, tallest and most expensive everything. We need a president who will be able to contemplate our place in the world that is in, as one writer called it, “the post-American world.”

And what do we get: political ads and commentary focused on hairdos hunting and guns, sex education in kindergarten{old reference] (and here), family values and use of children in campaigning and accusations hurled at the other candidates, which sometimes contain, according to the fact checker groups, distortions, if not outright lies. Candidates are tied to people who may or may not represent the view of that candidate or his party, as in this reference to immigration. Each side accuses the other (and here) of something different on economic issues even when they seem to be agreeing. Each side says it will lower taxes and accuses the other side of saying that it will raise taxes because they present only a portion of the tax plan. "However, commercials run this year represent a break with this general pattern. Attack ads broadcast in recent months have twisted the truth, lied about personal background, taken statements out of context, and clearly sought to manipulate voter sentiments." quoted from Darrell M. West is vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and the author of "Air Wars: Television Advertising in Election Campaigns, 1952-2004."

And the political spokespeople defend these distortions with new distortions of their own. I saw one interview where the reporter kept asking the same question because the spokesperson kept changing the subject to the ills of the other candidate. Finally the spokesperson started attacking the reporter’s motives. I’ve seen interviews in which the candidate’s answer to any questions is “I will bring change” with zero specifics being given. Is that because the candidate doesn’t even grasp the issues? We have to trust that change is good and that change means moving the country in the direction that I want it to go.

Even in our senatorial campaign has sunk to that level, including video of one of the candidates losing his temper. Each ad is a slam against the other major candidate, with nothing positive about the “approving” candidate’s own stance. We actually have an Independence Party candidate in our state who is a viable candidate due to serving out a term in the Senate after the death of Senator Paul Wellstone. I think all the negative campaigning will drive people in his direction.

All of these candidates are eroding their trustworthiness in my mind. The major presidential candidates pledged to keep the campaigning from getting negative. They’ve broken that promise. They say things that are not factual in some cases, as opposed to just another interpretation of the same thing. Does that mean that they are deliberately lying or are they parroting what they’ve been told to say or do they understand the issue so poorly that they don’t know that they are not telling the whole story?

Well, none of this is new in politics. But one of these people will be our president. I would think that a president wants to be trusted and believed. Apparently they don’t understand that TRUST is built, it doesn’t automatically come with a title.

Also try listening to this. and if that doesn't work, read this.


  1. I quit watching the adds. I just couldn't take it any more.

  2. I quit watching too.

    funny, at first I thought: "here we will have a better campaign than usual." Two respected people with integrity; the discourse will be on a better level.


    in fact, I think, worse than usual.


And what do you think?