Thankfully, we only have to put up with the political ads that have littered U.S. airwaves for months for less than a week more—at least until the next election cycle there rolls around again in two years.
The sheer repetitiveness of the ads is annoying enough to send even the most die-hard viewer scrambling to hit the “mute” button on their remote during each commercial break. Most striking, though, is how the majority of the ads don't espouse why to vote for a particular candidate but rather why not to vote for the other person.
It's almost funny—if it wasn't so disturbing—to see the lengths the ads go to use the most unflattering pictures of the opposing candidate as the voice-over tries to induce fear over the terrible things he or she stands for as if the end of the world as we know it hangs in the balance.
On this side of the border, we're now less than a year out from the next federal election. Even though the current Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still has a quarter of its mandate left to serve, all the main political parties already clearly are focused on Oct. 21, 2019, when Canadians are scheduled to head to the polls.
There's also talk—and plenty of indications—that the coming campaign, though officially still many months off, may be the nastiest we've ever seen.
It doesn't have to be this way. The late Jack Layton conveyed a message of hope to drive the “Orange Crush" that led the NDP to Official Opposition following the May, 2011 election. Then four years ago, Mr. Trudeau spoke of "sunny ways” as the Liberals stormed back to form a majority government.
This isn't to say everybody should be wearing rose-coloured glasses. There are very real and pressing issues facing our country which need to be debated in full during an election campaign. But the emphasis needs to be on why voters should support the platform of a party/candidate, not on why they shouldn't vote for the other person.
It's downright scary to see how negative advertising has contributed to a divisiveness south of the border that has fanned an atmosphere where pipe bombs are sent through the mail.
This has no place in our democratic system.
We take pride in the peaceful change of government elections may bring at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. That all starts by being civil during the campaign and not resorting to such blatantly negative advertising to get elected.