Letter to the editor: Certain campaign tactics just thinly veiled smear attacks

By KRISTINA RESER-JAYNE | Readstown

I want to address something that has unfortunately become a common campaign tactic. I’m already receiving nearly daily mailers, and I’ve gotten several “survey” or “polling” calls, which are really just thinly veiled smear attacks. I want to talk about this method of campaigning and challenge everyone not to let it influence your critical thinking.

The last election cycle in 2018, we saw this sinister type of messaging going out in slick mailings and in untruthful radio ads. Our local races are between community members whom we know and respect, and suddenly outside, even out-of-state, special-interest groups are involving themselves in the worst possible way in our local campaigns. Relentless mailings and radio ads disparaging candidates ran constantly in the weeks prior to the election. Some candidates shrugged off the responsibility of these ads because it was funded by outside money instead of using the opportunity to speak out against these tactics and set the record straight. I found that extremely disappointing.

This year, many people will choose to vote early, and this activity is already starting. When you find this type of messaging in your mailbox, on the radio or in a phone call, take a moment to think about what this represents and what is the goal of this misinformation. If you have any questions about the content of any ads you see or hear, especially in local races, reach out to the candidate and talk to him or her about it. Most candidates have their phone number or email easily located on their campaign materials or websites. Campaigns should be about showing what makes someone the best person to represent our district and not about denigrating their opponent. 

Unfortunately, these tactics are used in all races and at all levels these days. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted on this nonsense. This is always frustrating, but particularly this year, when our country is dealing with the economic stress created by the current pandemic. That money could be used for so many other things in our communities instead of just creating more negativity and landfill. Let’s all make an effort to take back common sense and civility. Let’s not let fear mongering and misleading information taint our views. Let’s call them out, let’s not believe the rhetoric, and let’s throw those mailers in the trash where they belong!

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