I live in Western Wisconsin, which means that, although I am not a Minnesota voter, I am uniquely qualified to offer knowledgeable commentary on Minnesota elections. This is because cable, satellite, and antenna-beamed local channels are Minnesota channels.
On one hand, it can be frustrating to be subjected to election-year political ads about candidates for whom I canâ€™t vote . . . on the other hand, I donâ€™t have to put any thought at all into whether claims made in the ads are true. Who cares?
I have, however, developed some opinions about political ads in general, and I wish the advertisers and candidates would follow my new rules.
Rule One: Stop using crying children in ads. The voiceover says â€œthis is how voters will react if Joe Public is electedâ€ and features children crying, pouting, and suffering bumped heads and other childhood tragedies. As a mother and a voter, I object to crying and pouting; thereâ€™s quite enough of that in politics without bringing children into the arena.
Rule Two: An addendum to Rule One: Leave your own children out of the campaign ads. â€œMy dad can find jobs,â€ from the son who is reluctantly raking the yard rings hollow in an economy where so many people are out of work and would be quite happy to rake the candidateâ€™s yard for a paycheck.
Rule Three: How about telling the truth? Itâ€™s become kind of a foreign concept, but it might work, if it becomes a habit. Now, Iâ€™m not talking about your version of the truth; that could take us down a slippery slope of revising history that many a politician has slid. Tell us what you really believe, what you are darn sure you can accomplish, and what you would like to do, but arenâ€™t sure you can get it done. Thatâ€™s honesty.
Rule Four: Pointing out that your opponent once bit someone (leaving out that he was three years old and his brother bit him first) doesnâ€™t make you the better choice, in my humble opinion. I might have a better reaction if you tell me that you once bit an adult who later went on to run your campaign. Anyone with that kind of placatory skill belongs in office.
We western Wisconsin voters are an enduring lot. Whereas most Minnesota voters must dig deep to find the truth in their candidatesâ€™ promises, we must dig deep to find the candidates, themselves.