I know Ami Bera, who is running for Congress as a Democrat in District 7. And I know his Republican opponent, Doug Ose. They are both smart, hardworking, knowledgeable fellows. But they take very different stands on critical issues such as health care, immigration reform and the problem of increasing income inequality.
If I lived in the district, I would vote for Bera. But my preference is based on issues, not character. I personally like both candidates. I would have no problem breaking bread or drinking beer with either. In fact, I have done so, and I look forward to doing it again. I would let Bera, the doctor, treat my family. Or Ose, the developer, work out a real-estate deal for my company. There is nothing wrong with either of their characters—except for the fact that they allow their political consultants to run false, slime-filled attack ads against their opponent.
And since this campaign is one of the few close Congressional races, more than $9.5 million, mainly from outside the district, has poured in, allowing each candidate to infect the television airwaves with absurd charges against the other.
Bera charges that Ose is out to serve himself. Ose charges that Bera is free-spending at the same time as he cuts entitlements. The charges make little or no sense. The ads use camera angles, distorted unflattering photos, and unsettling music. Basically, the ads are designed to put a black hat on a candidate so we know who the bad guy is.
The Sacramento Bee, to their credit, evaluates political ads, giving them one of four rankings: true; somewhat misleading; mostly misleading; and outright lie. But when political campaigns lack any discussion of real issues, what is the point of evaluating the truthfulness of their ads? Who cares if Ose’s wealth increased while he was in office? The real problem is that the ad implies that he did something wrong, without providing facts.
It is sickening to think of the millions of dollars wasted on this political porn. We could have flipped a coin to determine a winner and built several permanent homeless shelters. Why has so little been spent on an actual discussion of issues? I would have loved to have sold either candidate a publication that would allow them to actually explain their positions and educate the public about why they were running.
The current political process is sickening. There is no discussion of issues, while the attack ads imply that the candidates would do and have done the lowest, most despicable things for their own benefit. The ads do not reflect the candidates, who are both dedicated, hardworking men who have made many sacrifices to serve. The attack ads do reflect the political consultants, who will apparently do anything for any candidate while making out like bandits.
We have too much at stake not to vote on Tuesday. Please vote. But then you may want to go home and take a shower.