We’re all sick of the political ads, right?
We know, because the commercials tell us, that Candidate A has a shady business past and Candidate B hates orphans and cute puppies.
We get it.
Most people I hear from say they can’t wait for the acerbic interruptions on television and radio to go away. And many of us wax nostalgic about a time when politics was civil and not filled with so many personal attacks. But as the recently departed substitute NFL referees would say, “upon further review, we couldn’t be more wrong.”
Think about how many times we’ve heard our friends say (or perhaps we’ve even said it ourselves), “Politics used to be much less divisive and not nearly as partisan.”
But nasty politics have existed since the beginning of time. Bashing politicians is a national pastime in this great country. It always has been.
There was a rather large contingent in the nascent years of the United States that wanted to try George Washington for treason because he refused to go to war with England.
John Quincy Adams supporters started a whisper campaign claiming Andrew Jackson’s wife was a whore, because she married Jackson before she was officially divorced from her first husband.
And then, the ultimate and saddest example of old-time politics being anything but amicable was a debate that resulted in America’s deadliest conflict, a civil war that cost more than 600 thousand lives.
Divisive politics is nothing new. One could argue based on the examples above that the atmosphere has actually improved.
The greatest difference between now and then is the speed at which information is shared and the fact that we all have a broadcasting platform from which we can share our opinions. (i.e. Facebook, Twitter and the visual paradise that is Pinterest).
So as we put up with the political ads in the coming weeks and listen to campaigns trade ugly barbs, at the very least, we can take solace in the notion that it’s been this way for a long time. And as that great philosopher Billy Joel once said, “The good old days weren’t always so good and tomorrow’s not as bad as it seems.”
<em>Kendall Tenney is a four-time Emmy-Award winning journalist who now runs 10e Media, a full service marketing and public relations firm specializing in media training.</em>