Most of the time I listen to what a candidate has to say about his or her stand on issues. And most of the time I realize that even though the candidate may feel passionately about and issue, his or her proposals, if elected, may not see fruition because that one candidate will not control the way others vote in congress. For as long as I can remember, a candidate’s platform, whether Democratic or Republican, hasn’t seemed to be enough to get votes. Derogatory comments about an opponent’s positions, past comments, past indiscretions or lifestyle has become commonplace. However, many past comments are taken out of context or are misconstrued. While some past indiscretions may be truthful, others are based on unproven rumors. The increasing degree of mudslinging more often than not clouds the real issues that should be addressed. Personally, I would hate to see people voting against a certain candidate just because an opponent espouses what seem to be factual accusations, when those accusations are unsubstantiated. Thank goodness for sites like Fact Finders, Snopes and Wikipedia that verifies many of those accusations.
I read an article on msnbc.com regarding the gubernatorial race in Oklahoma in which two female candidates are vying for the top spot. U.S. Representative Mary Fallin (R-OK) said in a debate last week that she is more qualified to be governor of Oklahoma than her opponent, Lt. Governor Jari Askins (D-OK). Did she list her professional qualifications to back up her statement? No. Certainly not. She said, “being a mother and raising a family is one of the things that make her more qualified” to be governor. Lt. Governor Askins has never been married nor did she have children. Rep. Fallin also said that the key difference between her and Lt. Governor Askins is that she is married to her second husband and between them they now have six children.
I’m all for equality for women. I am a divorced woman with three children, whom I raised by myself while working full-time. I admire women who can maintain a career and raise children without a full-time nanny. Therefore, I decided to do some research on both of the above candidates, even though I do not live in Oklahoma and cannot vote for either of them. Lt. Governor Askins worked in the private sector as a corporate attorney before becoming a district judge, state legislator and lieutenant governor. Rep. Fallin worked in the private sector as a hotel manager, a former lieutenant governor (replaced by Askins) and now a legislator. However, Rep. Fallin failed to mention the acrimonious divorce from her first husband after allegations of her having an affair (husband #1 had a private investigator follow her), nor did she mention that the six children she and her second husband have are all adults and she did not have any role in raising four of them. Her ex-husband, a dentist, claims he raised their two children while she was lieutenant governor.
Although her divorce and rumors of infidelity are in the past, Ms. Fallin misrepresented herself by implying she has raised six children. It’s an untruth by omission. Marriage and children are important. But they are not a prerequisite for pursuing public office. Morals, which also encompass truthfulness, should always be a prerequisite.
There are so many candidates who have made unsubstantiated accusations, and this has become the norm in U.S. elections. For the most part, when the mudslinging starts in earnest, I stop listening, as I think many other voters do. Wouldn’t it be a nice change of pace to have a roster of candidates who truthfully espouse their own virtues and track records, and forego all mudslinging? It will not happen in our lifetime, but it’s nice to dream.