Monday, January 17, 2011

Election Whining and Losing

There are no announced candidates yet, but the Richardson City Council election is already heating up. I predicted that the issues would be taxes and spending. It may still turn out that way (depending on who chooses to run), but the early grumbling on the blogs suggests that personal attacks are going to play a bigger role than any issues regarding city government.

After the jump, some personal attacks from comments on other blogs.

The charges made are anonymous (of course). The names of victims are redacted.

  • "there is growing concern about his mental faculties"
  • "concerns regarding his acuity"
  • "old man can't put two words together to make a sentence"
  • "a very crafty, deceptive, devious person who will stoop to whatever depths to get his way"
  • "his closeted 'drinking problem'"
  • "his outdated notions of gender roles"
  • "harrumph in public at people they see as less than they"
  • "cursing, gesturing and taunting others" of different "gender, age, religion and political affiliation"
  • "abhorrent gutter talk behind closed doors"
  • "their personal and petty revenge motives"
  • "his lingering anger"
  • "the bitterness they encourage"
  • "bitterness and sense of entitlement and revenge they encourage"
  • "angry, hateful man went out of his way to be rude and demeaning"
  • "she's in way over her head"
  • "poor [name redacted] is being totally manipulated"

Ewww! I feel dirty just transcribing the talk. It makes me long for the days when the whining was just about how our taxes are too d*mn high or we don't need no stinkin' rec center. Those at least are policy issues worth discussing, even if those discussions often descend into personal attacks, too.

I don't have any polling to back up my impression, but it seems to me that such mud-slinging backfires on the attacker. Sympathy for the victims of such attacks tends to increase support for them at the ballot box. And candidates who are seen to take part in such personal attacks themselves lose support. Not that I expect such consequences to change anyone's behavior. Politics is a blood sport, even among neighbors.

On further review, maybe things aren't as bad as feared. One of the bloggers I follow points out that "the same insomniac (who shall remain 'anonymous') posted 14 of the 17 comments." Good for her for highlighting the bad behavior. Here's to hoping that the election campaign can be civil.

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