30 May 2014

Unethical campaigning

This blog is not political and never will be. That is, I will not advocate or suggest in favor of either party over the other nor of any candidate over any other. Notwithstanding, something so despicable has happened in the Texas gubernatorial race that I must call it out.

One of the candidates printed up posters of the other with the latter's face on top of a Barbie doll body carrying a visible fetus in her uterus. Printed across the top are the words "Abortion Barbie." The posters were put up in prominent public places all around Houston. There are so many aspects of this action that are so wrong that it is difficult to know where to start.

If this were not a political campaign, those responsible for the posters would be subject to prosecution for libel. Are we to accept libelous actions as legitimate campaign procedures when we are in such desperate need of debating urgent public matters in an objective, helpful, and healing manner? The perpetrators are ripping apart the fabric of our democracy.

The makers of the posters are using a registered trademark and a patented figure (Barbie) for their own gain. If such action is not illegal, it should be. They are also purposely insulting the majority of women, who consider Barbie a negative self-image builder for girls and young women. It was calculated to offend and is overt in its callous disregard for women.

This procedure must stem from desperation. I must say, though, that we are all complicit. Political advertising has descended from the insulting to the unethical because we let it influence how we vote. We can change all this if we want to. Here's how:

1. Pledge to turn off the TV for the duration of all political ads.
2. Refuse to vote for anyone who allows the campaign or the PACs that support him or her to engage in attack ads againts the opponent.
3. Resolve to vote only for candidates who will discuss issues: what they will advocate for once in office, what they will oppose, and why.

To vote on any other basis is to be manipulated. Marshall McLuhan said, in The Mechanical Bride, that all advertising is both destructive of all traditional cultures and totalitarian in nature. I am advocating against unethical treatment of political opponents and in favor of a civilized discussion of the candidates' respective position on issues.

My character Angela Fournier typifies the longing of many young adults for responsible citizenship and ethical behavior. www.amazon.com/author/bedforddavid to see my Angela series.

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