The current political campaign is the most negative one in the history of the U.S. I’m not taking sides here. Both sides have attacked each other more personally than ever before.
Some of the current political attacks have been really personal. This is true at all levels of elections. I have seen local TV and print ads that claim criminal activities on the part of candidates on both sides of the political spectrum.
When I was younger, political campaigns were like athletic competitions. Everyone wanted to win, of course. But politicians highlighted their own positives. When elections ended, politicians went back to work with each other, trying to serve their constituents.
I miss that.
Attack ads are sponsored by people who have to work with each other. At the local, state and federal level, people have to work together to ensure that roads are maintained, bills are paid, and police and fire and emergency services are available.
How does our government return to work on November 9th after this election? How do politicians go back to work, and work with each other? The people who are attacking each other are supposed to show up for work and get work done. How do you work with people who are attacking you, and who you are attacking? How do we recover from this election? How do we put this genie back in the bottle?
We are fond of chanting “USA” at sporting events and political campaigns. The “U” stands for United. How united are we right now? If we aren’t satisfied with the answer, what do we do about that? How do we (can we) get back to a place where we work with each other, instead of against each other?
This election is not an individual transaction that we can walk away from. This isn’t a used car negotiation, where we can insult the seller and leave. The seller and the buyer in this transaction are us. The people we are insulting today are people we need to work with on November 9th, and beyond.
Years ago, there was a comic strip called Pogo. Pogo once said “we have met the enemy, and the enemy is us”.
How do we stop acting like the enemy is us?