Like many others, I have been following the US presidential race in the news. Since I am living in the US now, I find it even more interesting than before. In NYC it is quite obvious that the overwhelming majority of people are Democrats, so as far I am concerned, I am in good company. Not that it matters much – I can’t vote in these elections.
However, on a national level things are obviously different. In the past few weeks the race has been heating up, and a lot of filth, mud, false accusations and plain lies have been thrown into the air. While I am sure that the Democrats are not innocent of those acts, it appears to me, to put it mildly and in a polite way, that the Republicans are much more inclined to use those ugly tactics.
Perhaps politically it makes sense because polls are predicting a Republican demise, so they are backed into a corner and are shooting at all directions. However, I wonder how far down can these dirty politics drag our society. I feel that in the battle to win all moral guards are being ignored. “Our society”, in this case, means the American society, but unfortunately I see many parallels to Israeli politics, and it worries me because Israel is also facing elections in a few months.
What moral guards am I referring to? Obviously, the last 8 years with Bush were mediocre at best, and the trivial conclusion one should reach is that voting has very real-life consequences, as Bob Herbert explains in his column. Therefore, I think it is important for every voter to make a well-informed decision, or rather to have a well-informed opinion.
The democratic strategy today, I think, essentially asks voters to do just that. To have an informed opinion. The republicans, however, seem to want the opposite. They really want voters to make their decisions based on misinformation. Unfortunately, they are succeeding. For example, as Nicholas Kristof discusses in his column, almost one third of voters think that Obama is a Mulsim, a fact that is false but has been repeated over and over again by the Republicans – long enough until people believe it.
And this is just one example, there are many more. The primary problem is not that Republicans are lying to voters for the short-term gain. What scares me the most is that this problem is compounded by the Republicans’ belief (as represented politically today by the Bush-doctrine) that once power is granted to them, they can do whatever they please. They don’t believe in checks-and-balances.
In other word, they are trying to cheat their way into the white house. While this is not news, it seems to me that this kind of behavior always appears in its most aggressive, malignant, poisonous and destructing way on the right side of the political map, both in the US and in Israel.
I read today in this article that Ann Coulter, when referring to Obama’s alleged connections to the P.L.O, dared to compare Obama to Hilter. She said that Americans who will vote for Obama will later shake their heads in disbelief at their own choices just as Germans who voted for Hitler did after he hijacked the German democracy.
Not only that I find her words appalling, I find it ironic and sad that the opposite is actually true. If McCain does win, voters who will have voted for him will later shake their heads in disbelief when they find out that Obama is not really a muslim (or other false facts that they were scared into believing), but by then it will be too late. They will swear not to repeat the same mistake again … but we have heard all this four years ago, haven’t we? :(
As for Ann Coulter, what can I say? I think she is an exemplar of a person that actively contributes an overall negative value to society. Unfortunately she makes a good deal of money from that, so she’ll continue to spread her poisonous venom around. Maybe if Obama wins she will be quiet for a while. I hope that she gets sued for libel or something like that.