GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 12, 2012

Letter: Campaign and ad accountability


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To The editor:

In the editorial headlined “Tisei camp owes some answers on serious poll claim” (the Times, Monday, Nov. 11), it was stated that “Tisei and Moore owe the voters of the 6th District one of two things — either statements of evidence showing their claims of voter intimidation were valid, or a very public apology and a new concession that they have no real evidence that any such incidents ever occurred.”

This election involved our local 6th District and that matters. State and national elections matter but not quite so immediately.

I oppose all guilt-by-association allegations. Children should not be held responsible for the crimes of their parents, nor siblings for crimes of their brothers or sisters, nor those in wedlock for the crimes of their in-laws. There is not one reader who will stand and ask to be charged instead for the crime committed by another to allow that other person the opportunity to commit yet more crimes, harm more people, and injure the innocent.

The ads we have been bombarded with on TV, radio, in print, and electronic media have mostly focused on attacks on individuals, their relationships with others, and sheer calumny.

All candidates have an obligation to state what they wish for, what they propose to do, and the goals they seek. All candidates have an obligation to repudiate unsolicited ads that besmirch their opposition.

If candidates do not discuss issues, then we must hold them accountable. If candidates attack their opponents but do not discuss issues then we must hold them accountable. If I had magic, I would require all candidates to affirm or swear under penalty of perjury that all their ads are accurate. I’d carry that over to all who can now advertise capriciously on behalf of any candidate, except I’d ask for harsher penalties for their violations.

The last estimate I heard was that about $6 billion had been spent across the country in the last set of races. No one has suggested that money was spent on fully candid and accurate representations of candidates. No one has suggested that was the most beneficial use of that money. No one has suggested we are now better informed, enriched, or educated.

Ask a few teachers or employers how $6 billion could have benefitted students or potential employees over the next few decades.

We can continue to spend money on glitz or on substance.

If you speak out it becomes your choice. Remain silent and it is their choice.

ARTHUR THOMAS

Gloucester