Thursday, October 26, 2006

Got A Lil Mud In Your Eye

Everyone knows that politicians don’t play fair. It seems to me that most have forgotten what the people want and spend most of their time as mouthpieces for party agendas. I don’t like this practice and I think that in doing so it encourages a gang/mob mentality which then leads to an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. In the midst of all the name-calling and mud-slinging politicians blindside the people and we forget to focus on the issues.

Case in point: the recent Maryland Senatorial campaign of Ben Cardin vs. Michael Steele

When I first saw Michael Steele’s first campaign commercial about a month ago I thought it cute and lighthearted. Here’s this seemingly amiable Black man running for Senate talking about how he wants to change Washington and how soon his opponents will start slinging the mud at him claiming he hates puppies and other things. Ok…cute commercial, not too bad.

Then it gets out that he’s a Republican *gasp* and Democrats rally and jump on this man in a big way. Rather than focus on issues, the Dems hit hard and paint a picture of Steele being a Bush-loving Republican – sure death for any candidate who wishes to secure the Black vote (which is essentially what both candidates are trying to do).

A few celebrity endorsements (Don King, Mike Tyson, and Russell Simmons - to name a few) and Bush-hugging pictures later, we arrive at the most recent commercials – Michael J. Fox endorsing Ben Cardin cause he supports stem cell research. In the add Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease is shaking uncontrollably as a result of the disease. Why, oh why, would Rush Limbaugh go and mimic Fox and question the actor’s actual state at the time of taping. People are really up in arms out this whole thing. Limbaugh was wrong to have even taken it to that point, but more importantly both candidates were wrong ignoring the issues.

In trying to win the ‘Black vote’ these men have resorted to all the celebrity endorsements and mud-slinging you can think of. Won’t someone please focus on the issues? Please? I mean, I don’t care that Steele is a Black Republican – I’m over that. It’s not like Democrats are the saints, both parties do dirt and so in my opinion you should be voting for the candidate not the party they represent. Granted, sometimes it’s rough for an individual to express their own views when they have to go with the mob mentality of a political party, but damn can we get some real, accountable people into office? All of this going back and forth between Cardin and Steele makes me rather sick. Actually, it’s more so been the Democrats hitting Steele hard because he’s a Black Republican that supports Bush. Ok fine, but telling me how bad the opponent might be really says nothing about what you’re doing. It’s like picking the lesser of two evils, really. I’d like to know what Cardin plans to do for Maryland if elected for Senate – again. I mean damn, can we talk about real issues?

Same thing went down in the DC Primaries with Adrian Fenty running against Linda Crop for the Democratic bid for mayor. Cropp spent so much of her campaign time badmouthing Fenty that she never even bothered to address what she would like to do if elected. I mean it got out of hand – it seemed like every tv add she did talked about how inexperienced and flawed this man was – ok, but what can you do? I got to see all 5 candidates (Vincent Orange, Michael Brown, Linda Cropp, Adrian Fenty, and Mary Johns) at a debate last November, and personally I liked Michael Brown the best. I thought Fenty was so-so, but what really won me over was his response to all of Cropp’s nay saying - the man just kept on doing his thing. He continued to walk door to door as a part of his campaign and his ads talked about what he could do and what he hoped to accomplish if her were elected mayor. He never sunk to Cropp’s level and focused on the issues – as every politician should. That’s what I liked about him, and how he got my respect. Granted, I’m not completely sold on him, but you’ve got to respect that. I wish that more would keep to the issues and stop engaging in these back-handed techniques when it comes to running for office. Putting your opponent down or continually smearing them while failing to establish what your personal goals and objectives are mars one’s integrity and makes me very skeptical of your capability to lead.

Maybe I should run for office? Ha! No, I don’t think they’re ready for that.

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