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Commentary Slings and Arrows

Just say ‘No’ to negative campaigning

Randy Keck

As we approach the month of May a couple of important elections are coming up. On Saturday, May 7, voters will decide the fate of a couple of amendments to the Texas Constitution at the state level, and who the next mayor of Aledo will be at the local level.

Anyone on our readership area who lives in the City of Fort Worth, and that number is increasing daily, has the opportunity to vote on a number of bond proposals (see section B).

Local elections tend to be “cleaner” than elections for offfices higher on the ladder. I would say they are cleaner because they are non-partisan, but there was a good deal of nasty campaigning going on inside the recent Republican primaries in our area, and that’s among people who are presumably all on the same side.

During the recent primaries our mailboxes were flooded with campaign mailers, most designed and mailed by highly-paid political consultants who do not have a clue about life in Parker County.

As the Republican primary runoff slated for May 24 approaches, our mailboxes will again be awash in campaign mailers, though not to the extent as earlier since there are fewer races to decide.

Most people find negative campaigns to be distasteful if not downright disgusting, but for some reason negative campaigning seems to work — or at least it works well enough to make a difference in some voters’ minds.

The problem is that in most negative campaigning, a candidate tends to define the opponent by making accusations, using innuendo, and by labeling.

In a Republican primary, one of the worst things someone can call you is a “liberal.” That word gets thrown around as an epithet. There are prople I know among Democrats who are liberal. I can tell you that, among the Republicans on the local runoff ballot, there is not a liberal in the bunch.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t get campaign mailers claiming otherwise.

So I’ll tell you to be careful. Just because a campaign mailer says it doesn’t make it so. If you are disgusted with negative political campaigning, then don’t vote for the people who do it.

There is a lot at stake, especially in the race for State Representative District 60. When all has been said and done, a lot of money will be spent. Some of it will be spent on attack mailers.

I invite you to apply the Golden Rule in this situation. When you get an attack mailer, ask “what if that was me being attacked?” “What if that was my photo they are deliberately running fuzzy and granulated?”

We can make a diffference in our own small way by refusing to award that kind of election campaign. The answer is not to refuse to vote — that is often what negative campaigners want. The answer is to vote for people who run clean campaigns.

Just vote “for” — not “against.”

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