Smear tactics not helpful

By By Saeng Bounyasane

By Saeng Bounyasane

Let’s not fool ourselves8212;we love negative campaign ads. For all you John McCain fans, how about the ad in which the McCain campaign juxtaposes Barack Obama with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? And for you supporters of Obama, remember the ad that Obama’s campaign released with the message, “Things have changed during the last 26 years,” implying how old McCain is?

Yes, you all remember these monumental ads. But let’s look at them from an objective view.

What do both of these ads have in common? First, they”re both negative ads that engage in ad hominem attacks. Second, they both tell us nothing about the politician releasing the ad8212;they’re only talking smack about the opponent.

So, which one of you can tell me about Sen. McCain or Sen. Obama’s economic plans from their ads? No one. The fact of the matter is that these ads are not meant to inform but to persuade the audience demagogically. It’s a dark day in our country when the campaigns of candidates running for our nation’s most revered office engage in expediency to attain that position.

Which are we really voting for8212;the candidate best suited for the presidency, or the candidate who is the lesser of two evils? For the moral country we claim to be, it seems paradoxical that the latter is our method to elect the president.

Many of you might be thinking, “But it’s important for us to know the bad qualities of a candidate running for president,” and you’re exactly right.

However, portrayal of these qualities from an opponent in the presidential campaign is not formal debate, but mere slander. The love of such slanderous claims has decayed our country. We no longer trump our political opponents by asserting how good our candidate is, but by how bad theirs is. This style of politics has led many citizens to assert egregious and spurious claims (e.g., some Republicans believe Obama to be an Arab terrorist).

And so we need to ask ourselves: What kind of nation are we? Are we a nation that preys on slander and cheers on a candidate who defames his or her opponent? Or are we a nation that exalts virtue and grace? At this point, I’m not sure which one we are, but I am sure of one thing8212;the current election is not based upon choosing the most qualified candidate, but the most demagogic.

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Editor’s Note8212;Saeng Bounyasane is the Philosophy Club’s IT Chair.

Saeng Bounyasane