I have a very serious concern about what I see going on during election cycles, particularly in the black community. More and more people have become comfortable lodging personal attacks on both candidates and their supporters, especially through social media. It is bad enough that Facebook and Twitter depersonalize our communications just enough that people feel uninhibited. Now, we take our political opinions to the sounding boards of social media.
No longer are we concerned about truth, but rumor. No longer do we truly consider public policy and the real issues facing the electoral office. In fact, we really have no idea about the responsibilities of a particular office, or the qualities that should be important in the candidates seeking the office.
If last year’s Alabama attorney general’s race is any example, we are in real trouble. I’m sure you are familiar with the particularly negative ads that were run by both candidates. Supporters of one candidate airing ads that attempted to tie incumbent politicians to the legal and ethical issues plaguing the other.
I would hope that we could all be better than that. If someone chooses to disparage another, publicly in the social media forum, no one wins. We’ve all heard the sayings if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. It seems now, the opposite is true. Nowadays, it appears that disparaging someone for political or personal gain is perfectly acceptable. That’s tragic.
Every one of us has had our share of trouble and made mistakes. We all do things that we wish that we had never done. We all get involved with people whom we wish we had never been involved with. For others to hold that against us for all of our lives is unfair. The bible says that “all have sinned and fall short.” None of us are immune.
Far too many of us fight day by day to recover our reputations and to make our lives productive. Yet, it seems the devil does not want to see us succeed, and we all buy into the lies and rumors — hook, line and sinker. We’d rather think of the worst in someone, rather than the best. When we do better as people; when do we do better for our community; when we believe in people and people believe in us; when we teach our children how to think and analyze—then maybe we will get the benefit of an election we deserve.
My hope for future elections is that, before someone pushes the button to transmit a disparaging statement for the purpose of somehow benefiting themselves or hurting someone else, they will give it a second thought, and not push that send button. Maybe we can re-think what we are doing in the upcoming election cycle and do better. At least that is my hope.