You can always gauge how near we are to the end of the campaign season by the quantity of glossy campaign mailers overflowing from the recycle bins at the post office.
Mailers that paint one candidate in menacing red and gray colors and the supported candidate in normal flesh colors doing something outdoorsy and Alaskan have become so common you don’t even have to worry which candidate they are for – the message is clear: my team is good, your team is bad. Fair enough. I have noticed that candidate Congresswoman Mary Peltola is one who opponents have a very hard time portraying as negative and scary in their advertising campaigns. Mary looks like a winner regardless of the associated color schemes and Washington DC players she is paired with. Some poor Communications staff person back at opposition headquarters is probably losing sleep over how to make a negative message stick.
The personification that you hear on certain radio stations is that the other side is evil. To paint a political opponent as evil and unholy, is to make them less human – and from there to the political violence that has roiled our shared human history is not too far of a stroll. A bumper sticker that says “FIRE! Pelosi” has an obvious reference to a firing squad. We saw enough on January 6th, 2021 to get a good sense of where this kind of language leads.
The good thing is that we have the power to change things. Our very own Representative has the power to walk back from the ominous language of aggrievement by not sponsoring movie night at a Christian house of worship featuring a widely debunked election conspiracy film called “2000 Mules”. Leadership means making the hard call now and then. For a lawmaker who pressured the Governor to join a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election it is a difficult proposition, but leading takes sacrifice.
In the end, if we want Democracy to work, and I do, we need to compromise and work together on the major issues facing us. Budgets are balanced by compromise, fiscal responsibility is achieved by compromise not scorched earth. Our Bering Sea crab stocks are not going to come back due to a negative radio ad, or a campaign slogan. Healthcare costs are not driven down by a facebook post, but by leaders getting together and working hard at it.
Hold your nose and take heart, my friends, campaign season is almost over. Once the campaign mail with all of its dire exclamations and colorful exhortations has been recycled, taken to the bailing facility, bailed, and sent on, the issues before us will still be there, stark as the winter landscape ahead. Let us be sure this time to vote in those folks (like me, Louie Flora for State House District 6) who are willing to sit down and solve real problems facing all of us Alaskan, American, Patriotic, Faithful, Music-loving, and Sustenance-requiring Human Beings.