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Should we tolerate negative political campaigns or examine them?

Posted By August 31, 2012 | 11:54 am | Commentary
By Father Eugene Hemrick Catholic News Service Recently I've heard a lot of: "I can't wait until the November elections are over!" The remark doesn't reflect the desire to move on with life as much as it reflects disgust with the negative political campaign ads bombarding us. No one will deny that it's annoying when we are hit repeatedly with the same political ad during a TV program. It is an affront to our intelligence and patience.

By Father Eugene Hemrick
Catholic News Service
Recently I’ve heard a lot of: “I can’t wait until the November elections are over!” The remark doesn’t reflect the desire to move on with life as much as it reflects disgust with the negative political campaign ads bombarding us.
No one will deny that it’s annoying when we are hit repeatedly with the same political ad during a TV program. It is an affront to our intelligence and patience.
There is an old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” It suggests that we not get uptight, but go with the flow. Negative politics is as old as our country. In their early history in the U.S., political campaigns were much more vicious than today. It is also true that it’s a way of life most of us have come to accept. So, why should we be upset? After the elections are over, most claims will be forgotten and bygones will be bygones.
Do we let our disgust, annoyance and impatience play themselves out, or should we dissect what is causing this? The latter should be our choice. Why? It is because truthfulness is at stake. Thanks to the media and journalistic investigations, corruption that once was hidden is now uncovered and prosecuted more than before. At its base is revealing dishonesty and blatant untruthfulness.
On the subject of truthfulness, theologian Father Romano Guardini once wrote, “All relations of men with each other, the whole life of the community, depend on faithfulness to truth.”
Truth is the glue that binds us together as a nation, a family and a society. When it is jeopardized, so is the life of our community.
What is particularly disturbing about today’s political ads and claims is the way falsehoods are cleverly interspersed with truth. A campaign ad will make a claim or recite statistics, and within minutes, someone who has researched the truth of the matter will point out they aren’t as true as made to sound.
When this happens repeatedly, it spawns skepticism and diminishes respect and confidence. The result is that the dignity of our country’s spirit is damaged.
No doubt, time passes and with it so does another campaign. But there comes a time when certain disturbing things should not be allowed to pass.
As we endure the next few months of negative campaigning, do we sit and be bystanders, or should we examine to see if the truth is being trampled? Is the glue that truth possesses becoming weaker or stronger in our country? Is the bar of honesty as high as it should be?