Many would likely agree the months-long, back-and-forth, tit-for-tat Collins/Gideon political ads are beyond annoying. The amount of money spent for the spots while so many are enduring COVID-19 financial uncertainty and austerity ratchets it up the scale to absurd.

Taking another view, these schoolyard-like spats serve as an effective distraction. Note that, similar to previous recent national races, the issues “allowed” for discussion are narrowly defined. Anathema to either campaign messaging is articulating positions on such foreign policy “inconveniences” as the 19-year occupation of Afghanistan (where much of the world’s heroin now originates) and the billions in cash and armaments provided annually to nuclear-powered Israel while Palestinians endure apartheid squalor.

Domestic concerns like the growth of a post-9/11 police state and Fourth Amendment guarantees against intrusive surveillance are also ignored. The vote for invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, acts of torture, detention without charge in Guantanamo, Wall Street financial fraud, multiple tax cuts and the shift of wealth to the already super-rich has also highlighted Collins’ Senate tenure. While Gideon can’t be held to account on these, neither is she vocalizing outrage or holding her opponent to scrutiny. Such honesty would also reveal the Democratic Party’s complicity.

Those who maintain “there’s not much difference between the two national parties” have a valid position. Political parties and candidates should not be regarded as sports teams. The time has come to consider candidates free of party messaging and monied donors. We need to break this paradigm.

Del Leonard, Waterford

 


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