Gazette opinion: Let's hear more from you and less from them

2014-06-03T00:00:00Z Gazette opinion: Let's hear more from you and less from them The Billings Gazette
June 03, 2014 12:00 am

For many, today is just the first day of the rest of the election season.

A lot of us have already had our fill of semi-anonymous mailers on the attack. We’re tired of politicians blaming the PACs, trying to pretend they’re the only ones to rise above the mud.

And those television ads, each more somber than the next trying to convince you that the other guy wants to take your rights, or your guns or whatever you love.

Election season in the United States is long. We seem to go from wanting more to never hearing another ad. We become jaundiced to the ads and indifferent to promises.

That’s sad.

And yet, today — Election Day — is really about making sure you’ve gotten out and cast your ballot so that the field is narrowed for what promises to be several long, contentious races, if the primary ads are any indicator.

We hope folks take the time to make the decision. This is the chance not only to have your voice heard but to hold politicians accountable.

More than that, though, we hope that voters continue to get involved in the process. We don’t mean that more people should run (in many races, it’s already a crowded field). Instead, we mean that folks should take an active part in the election process. Research candidates and issues. Don’t take a politician’s word for it.

We hope folks listen and participate in debates or forums and hear candidates speak when they’re on the campaign trail.

We also hope that citizens voice their displeasure with the attack-style ads that continue to flood the airwaves and the mailboxes. We hope that as folks encounter stumping politicians that they will remind them that voters are less interested in what political hopefuls have to say about their respective opponent and care more for what they have to say about their own positions.

We hope that through the political catfighting and gobbledegook of partisan warfare, voters start demanding candidates who resist being sucked into character assassination and purity tests and rewarding those who do. Instead, we hope to hear more about how politicians can work together and what solutions are still available to help bridge a divided country.

We’d even love to see some of the candidates pledge an above-the-board campaign in which they promise to hold themselves and their staff accountable for talking about where he or she stands on an issue, and not about how terrible the opponent is. Are there any candidates willing to pledge they’ll call on PACs to moderate their message, even if the mailings are positive for them?

We hope politicians stick to more measured messages. However, that will only happen if the voters demand it, discount attack ads and reject candidates whose only tactic would seem to be criticizing his or her opponent.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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