Election season is truly upon us. The primaries and compiling of party lists of all of the major parties have either been completed or are well under way, and every day we are being bombarded with slogans and promises from across the political spectrum. The tension is building as we prepare to return to the polls to elect the men and women who will be leading our great country. As the excitement builds, however, so too it seems does the level of vitriol that is being directed by aspiring politicians towards their rivals, both with within and outside of their parties.
“Impotent”, “Disconnected”, “Contrary” -these not-so charming insults have all been levied by senior Israeli politicians against one of their rivals in the last few weeks. The current election campaign has produced far too many examples of name-calling and mud-slinging. Press conferences are dominated by politicians speaking badly of each other and indulging in negative campaigning. The not coincidental timing of leaked videos, criminal investigations and political scandals serves to underscore the nasty tactics that many of the major figures are now employing in their quest to secure more votes. It is an embarrassment to those guilty of doing it and to those who they hope to govern. It is insulting to the electorate that our leaders seem to think that it is acceptable to refer to each other in such crass terms and that this will gain them popularity. What does it say about their opinion of the electorate that they think that we will be impressed by such mean-spirited words and actions?
I am currently undecided as to who I will be voting for in March, but each time I hear a politician take a vicious swipe at one of their rivals, I cross his/her name off of my list. Sad to say that the list is quickly dwindling. I am much more interested in hearing the positive reasons to support a particular candidate or party rather than the negative reasons to not support a rival. Our leaders should be providing an example of how to build a society that embraces its members with warmth and civility and not seek to belittle each other. One of the most important lessons that we try to impart to children is the need to behave nicely and to use kind words. If our children can grasp this message, surely it is time that our aspiring leadership should be able to as well?