There are quite a few people this election season, myself included, who are quietly shaking our heads, deeply disappointed in our fellow human beings and the people they choose to represent them.
Don't understand why? Take a look around. I've seen the absolute worst in people paraded around these past few months, as though this kind of behavior were acceptable. When a family member of someone we know falls gravely ill, do we act out of sympathy toward them, or do we engage in schadenfreude at best, and assume it is merely a political ploy at worst?
It's not all bad: while recent rallies have not been something to be proud of, a few people recently stood their ground against a gentleman whose sole interest was creating ignorant social division as a means to profit.
But I can't help but think our standards have lowered unacceptably. Is a small group of people who were directly impacted by the issue speaking up against a vendor selling obviously distasteful innuendo the best we can do?
It's not just the blatant sexism and racism that has permeated these campaigns. It's the vitriol spat in each direction, at all levels of campaigning. Local candidates are busy telling everyone what's wrong with their opponents, but not spending a whole lot of time talking about what they have in mind. I've been hearing what I swear is the same woman doing her "in these troubled times" and "we can't afford another four years" voice-over lines for nearly every local political candidate on radio and TV.
Have our standards lowered so much that the best we can hope for from these campaigns is the occasional nugget of policy discussion? Should we accept that digging up dirt on your opponent, mis-characterizing their positions and actions, encouraging all manner of hateful behavior if it favors your campaign, and ill-considered innuendo is just the cost of democracy?
I'm disappointed in our "leaders", because when they are at their most competitive, they demonstrate that leadership to us. And what they've demonstrated is something you would scold a petulant child for.