Op-ed by Dom Genova
Our minds are wired to understand the notion of prejudice as having to do with racist behavior or language, or with religious intolerance. We can agree that prejudice is not an acceptable behavior in a civilized society.
Except in politics.
In the political process, prejudice seems to be routinely accepted as a feature of campaign advertising.
Candidates regularly accuse their opponent of supporting a controversial policy simply because that person is a member of the other party. It does not matter if the opposing candidate disagrees with the policy or takes a different stance publicly. “He is an X that makes him believe in Y.”
The definition of prejudice is a preconceived judgment or opinion formed without sufficient knowledge of a situation. To assume that a candidate will categorically subscribe to every stance of his or her political party is prejudicial.
This guilt by association is the basis for all prejudice. Not all X believe Y. Not all Republicans believe that all abortion should be illegal. Not all Democrats believe in unrestricted abortions up to the day of birth.
This prejudice card is used as a tool to denigrate the opponent. One side chooses a divisive issue where the other party is weakest, using lies or half-truths.
That party instills fear of that issue using statements from the fringe wing of the party. That candidate claims the other candidate is in lockstep with the fringe whether true or not.
The strategy plays out in TV ads that say: Don’t vote for_______ because they are a member of _________party and that party is extreme because ____________. Deriding the character of a candidate just because they are a candidate of the other party is no better than saying you can’t trust someone of a certain religion because of the actions of some people who also choose to be of that religion. We don’t tolerate that. Why is this different?
Ultimately, you vote for an individual more than a party. I am not so naive that I believe a candidate is going to be in lockstep with me. That individual’s experience, political philosophy and character must be compared to his or her opponent.
Of all the nonsense that is said in these unfair and prejudicial ads, the worst of all is when the candidate says, “and I approved this ad”. It makes me wonder about their character. It’s so sad that truth in advertising laws almost exclusively apply to retail business and not politics.
~ Dom Genova is a former car dealer who made his living as “The No-Nonsense Car Dealer.” Genova is the No-Nonsense Roundtable, a one hour show broadcast of iHeart’s 50,000 watt station in Rochester NY, NewsradioWHAM1180. Some of his guests are famous, others you may not know but should know. The radio broadcast is every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and is available later as an iHeart podcast or YouTube. Both can be found on www.NoNonsenseRoundtable.com.