Elections are a way of life in a democratic nation. You either love them, or hate them. Some people are fascinated by the politics surrounding elections and the statistics and the history made when specific candidates win.
On a national level, elections play out in the media. Tone of voice, speech location and wardrobe somehow play a large role in the perception of the candidates instead of the values they speak of and the initiatives they shun.
We all know, elections are dramatic… some more than others… hanging chads? Trump versus Clinton?
No matter your political affiliation or lack thereof, I think one thing we can all agree on is that some elections have become the new “Your extended warranty has expired…” callers.
I know that elections can bring out the worst in people—supporters screaming at one another, signs being stolen from driveways, arguments breaking out in public places and of course, a keyboard warrior cussing someone out on Facebook because they’re “voting for the wrong candidate.”
The candidate that’s right for you might not be the candidate that’s right for someone else. I have entirely different viewpoints on certain issues than some of my friends, family and even my husband. And if I can’t have a civil conversation about those issues with the most important people in my life, why would I go on Facebook and try to change a complete stranger’s mind?
I wouldn’t. But, oh, some people will!
My mom always told me that if I couldn’t say something nice, to not say anything at all. But…if I took that advice, I’d pretty much be silent, so here I am. I know good and well that some of y’all’s mamas told you the SAME thing but here you are, running for office and talking crap about your opponent.
During the primaries, it was DAILY. Daily Facebook posts, videos, rants and comments on everybody else’s posts. Arguments in the Statesboro Herald Facebook comments section. Always someone with their spoon stirring the s***pot.
Social media should be a place to see funny cat videos, or to find out who went home on your favorite reality competition show, not to watch the drama of a local election unfold.
I understand, you want to win. But in my opinion, if you can’t win based on your own merit and by talking about what makes you the better candidate, then you don’t deserve my vote. Don’t outline for me why the other candidate is a bad choice…convince me that you’re the right choice.
Your experience as an individual, whether it be professional or personal can help you win an election. Your personality can help you win an election. And yes, mudslinging is a tactic that usually helps folks to win. But why? Why stoop to such a level that your only ammunition against your opponent is to talk badly about them? Maybe…just maybe, if that’s your only tactic, you shouldn’t be wasting the voter’s time.
To me, the only thing worse than a candidate who relies on stirring the pot to win is a candidate whose pot-stirring doesn’t result in a victory. It’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. The s***-stirring candidate goes into the election and emerges as a big, beautiful…cry-baby.
I know that sounds harsh, but seriously. If you didn’t win, don’t take to social media to trash-talk the candidate that did. Politely, humbly and as sincerely as you possibly can, congratulate your opponent. If you want to go home, drink a beer and call him insults that would make a sailor blush, that’s fine! Just don’t take to a public forum to do it.
There are several reasons why that’s a bad idea:
1. See the paragraph above about
winning on your own merit. If you trash-
talked leading up to the election, maybe
you’re the reason you lost.
2. What if you decide to run again
later? If you do, I can guarantee you
that the opponent you lost to will have
supporters that would rather not
exercise their right to vote instead of
vote for you.
3. It’s really a bad showcase of your
true character—and not likely to win
Mud-slinging to me is nothing more than a desperate attempt to look good to others and if you’re that desperate for votes, then that tells me that you’re not running on a very good platform or you’ve got some pretty dirty skeletons in your closet that you’re trying to distract from. It’s a tactic used when you have no other option… or when you’re just someone who is running for spite. Just so that the incumbent won’t win—and that is truly a waste of the voter’s time.
I’m aware this entire column may fall on deaf ears. Or it may make those mud-slinging, cry-babies angry. That’s fine… but if you can’t take it, then why were you dishing it out? I know you’ve heard the phrase, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen… well, an election is nothing but a big ol’ kitchen, so if you can’t take the criticism…then yet again, maybe you aren’t the right person for that job.
Ashlee Hooks Corbin is a multimedia account executive at the Statesboro Herald. A Bulloch County native, she married her high school sweetheart, Jason Corbin. They have two dogs, Maggie and Molly. Ashlee enjoys crafting, reading and serving the community through the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro.