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Thursday
May102018

Editorial: Mother's Day Cease Fire

I have pondered some of the recent vitriol that’s being hurled about and is accumulating out there on FaceBook, other social media, and the radio and television airwaves in the final days of the May Primary Election, and in addition to recoiling from the same, I wondered; what would our moms think?

Now, to be clear, as a forty-plus year veteran of political campaigns in Oregon, from local commissioner races,to congressional and presidential campaigns, I have seen almost everything there is to see in the way of campaign tactics. I have in fact, in many cases, been responsible for directing some of what goes on in the way of messaging and in creating a campaign strategy and media program. And one thing that is absolutely undeniable is negative campaign tactics work.

I can hear the sucking in of breath now, and can envision the shaking of heads in disdain, as you mumble, if just to yourself, I hate that!

Yeah, I get it, me too! But it doesn’t change the reality. That said, one thing I have always maintained as an unwavering, non- negotiable campaign principle, both in governing myself, and in the directing of the candidates who have hired me, is that an opposing candidate’s record, and their public statements are fair game, negative or not. It’s the record, and usually the most honest way to assess or measure a candidate beyond the sound bites, and stump speeches. How did they vote? Who did they support? What are their public policy positions, especially those positions, delivered in public? Those are the facts, and they are not disputable.

Oh, there is one other criteria for selecting the candidate you can support, which was ingrained in me from very early on by my mom, and later, mother-in-law too, the principle that you should look into who is supporting the candidate. Hmmm? It tells quite a lot really. I could give plenty of examples, but you know exactly what I’m saying.

So on the other side of “negative campaigning” is the flat out false, vicious, personal, ad hominem attacks, based not at all upon someone’s actual record, or public statements, but crafted (or made up out of thin air) with the express purpose of defaming the person and derailing their campaign. Oh, this is an art, or better a craft, that some very high paid consultants employ all too frequently. And in today’s instant media, social networking, etc. it has become even more deceptive, and effective than ever!

One factor that is absolutely essential in the deploying of said negative campaign tactics and ads, is the timing; holding them to the last minute, to such a time when the veracity of the charges cannot be determined, and even when they are, and are proven to be false, the damage caused by the smear is done and cannot be undone.

But back to our moms for just a minute. Do you know that research has shown that every single human being alive today has one, a mom that is. Sadly some have departed, in my case, just the day after Mother’s Day two years ago. I still miss her! But we all have moms, and some of you, statistics say about 50.6% of the world’s population, are at least potential moms; you not only have a mom, but are, or may become moms too!

Motherhood is amazing! It is truly a magnificent design by our creator. And this past week something spectacular occurred in Iowa that honors moms, and would-be moms. It is the Bill signed into law by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, entitled the “Heartbeat Bill” which says once a pre-born baby has a discernable heartbeat, they cannot be killed.

We are living in a time where the tide is beginning to turn, and it is turning if favor of motherhood, and of life!

President Trump just issued a statement that declares Abortion is Not a Human Right. This was delivered in a State Department report on human rights, April 24, 2018. He is the first president to participate in the March for Life parade, and has put Planned Parenthood on notice that their days of federal taxpayer monies are numbered.

So as we come into the final stretch of this primary campaign season here in Oregon, and throughout the nation, I thought it would be a fitting way to honor our moms, by calling a Mother’s Day ceasefire on the hostile campaign rhetoric.

Ask yourselves this question; if the mother of the candidate whom you are attacking was sitting in the room when you are offering your perspective on their son or daughter, would you use the same language and tone? Really, would you? How would your remarks about their child make them feel? Would it cause them to smile, and glow with pride and satisfaction? If not, perhaps we can do better. And this ‘mom factor’ applies to you candidates speaking ill of your opponent’s character, and getting nasty about it, and even dishonest. What would your mom say if she was watching, or if she knew?

I am reminded of the truce on Christmas Day during World War I, when the British and German soldiers put down their arms, and shared some smokes, some coffee, and some Christmas cheer. Let’s do this at least on Mother’s Day, and have a political ceasefire.

And then, even perhaps as we rejoin the battle, we can forget what the commanding generals of the warring factions want, and remember that while some things are definitely worth fighting for, we are all human still and we all have moms who we should at least try to make proud in our actions.