Fri August 6, 2010
Richard Crowson: The Drain Of Negative Campaigns
The unprecedented nastiness of this season’s primary campaign seems noteworthy. Has there ever been a political atmosphere as charged with negativity as this one? Have there ever been so many candidates who’ve had so little to say about what they are actually in favor of? Okay, we did hear some platitudes about “Kansas values.” But mostly we heard negative messages telling us what they were against. They were against President Obama. They were against health care reform. They were against taxation. They were against undocumented immigrants. And more than anything else, they were most emphatically against whatever low-life scoundrel was their opponent.
The older I get the less interest I have in negativity. It saps my energy and my time from those things in life that are truly important. Things like going out for ice cream with my family; listening to the warm August wind as it rustles the cottonwood leaves and scratching my dog, Ollie’s belly for him when he rolls over on his back and sticks his limp legs skyward expectantly.
I know negative campaigning is nothing new. We’re all pretty used to it by now. Heck, there’s a whole news network that’s dedicated to negativity 24/7. Talking heads blather on incessantly about this outrage or that one and we soak it up. Negative campaign ads are widely known to be effective as a way of winning elections.
If opposite polarities attract, then my theory is that we are attracted to negativity because we are basically positive beings. But sometimes our positive terminals get corroded. We can fill ourselves with dispiriting negativity and the unhappiness and suffering that results from it.
Here’s hoping someday a politician will talk about ice cream and rustling cottonwood leaves and my dog’s belly. That’s the person I’ll be campaigning for.