Would someone get ready to run for office?

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Why would anyone run for office in today's world where outright lies and personal attacks are the currency of the political kingdom? We Americans have just endured months upon months of one candidate calling their political opponent everything but smart and handsome. The lies and innuendos have flowed throughout our towns.
       The non-stop attack advertisements sound like middle-school kids shouting, "You're a poo-poo head." Followed by the rejoinder, "No you're a poo-poo head." Mostly I am very sorry for the family members of the candidates who had to listen to attacks upon their loved ones for the purpose of politics. Some even were the targets in some communities.
       Worse, there is a price to pay for business people who run for office since the first step is to declare a party. Often members of the contradictory party then boycott that business such that the business suffers because someone wants to do their civic duty.
       Why, oh why, would anyone with any kind of sense put up with such shabby treatment? More so there is the concern that the people we would like to get into public service will not submit to this kind of treatment. The business leaders of our communities support people running for office but often will not tolerate those personal false attacks, therefore, will never run for office.
       The First Amendment question: can people knowingly lie but hide behind the Constitution's protection of free speech? Yes, they can and do. This does not mean there are no consequences for those who campaign by falsehood. We who value truth will remember falsehoods and act accordingly.
       Even though an election has just ended if someone was thinking about running next time, that decision must be made soon to get all of the things done to have some kind of chance against an incumbent. But the sting of the false statements and insults are still ringing in our ears. We may forgive but never forget the lies told. Read full column



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