A friend did a post this morning lamenting the rancor early in this election season. She said in part "this 2012 campaign has reached a low point for the American people. How can we trust either of these candidates? I truly hope the debates are better then these commercials." I think a lot of people are annoyed at the commercials that we have seen thus far. I've also been personally bothered by the low points of comments like the one the Vice President offered yesterday to a predominantly Black audience where he claimed that if Romney-Ryan were elected the audience would be "put y'all back in chains." The President was quick to defend Biden when he said "Most folks know that is just the WWF wrestling part of politics." Well Mr. President, with all due respect, you should be a bit more respectful of the dignity of politics. WWF is not where the American political system does its best.
The reality is that we are not being served by the people who run our candidate's campaigns. Some of it comes from the amount of money in the system. While political speech needs to be mostly unfettered there is also a need to keep decency in the public square - and this campaign has not shown much inclination to do that.
That being said, there is a higher principle than just the fashion of being annoyed at the low level of point and counterpoint. The two candidates for president present fundamentally different views of what America should become. One would have government take a larger role in our lives. The other would reduce (certainly not to the levels that I would prefer) the amount of government spending. In my opinion, one would make a serious attempt to reduce the level of the deficit in the near and long term - the other would not.
Both sides of the spectrum are guilty of smugness. They cannot believe that an alternative point of view may have been come to sincerely. I see it more from the left - I've seen friends on that side paint conservatives as evil and deranged - all the while presenting a self satisfied visage that suggests that they have found the Rosetta stone of enlightenment. Some conservatives also lack the humility to consider other points of view.
But this comes back to two fundamentally different views of society. We need to suck it up and think carefully about which vision is more likely to bring about the society we want to live in. I have the unique problem of believing that the country was on the wrong track for more than this administration. Although I voted for him, (because I thought the alternatives were worse) I watched the eight years of George Bush expand government significantly. In the end, my patience with both sides is limited.