Candidates — try to respect citizens

Political candidates are now in their campaign “homestretch.” And as a recipient of candidates’ flyers and advertisements, it is also a time of year of being told that I will lose a program, service or right if I don’t vote a certain way.

We are told that our attention spans are short. We can only process simple messages. We only react to negative advertising. And candidates know that a catchy phrase or a sound bite can sway a voter. Well, my request to those candidates is to respect the citizens you serve.

What I want to know is your position, why you believe what you believe, and the evidence you use to support your belief. Just telling me that someone opposes a program or believes that spending money on a particular service is a mistaken priority does not help me to decide. Candidates for elected office owe the voters a full explanation of their positions. And this explanation needs to clearly identify the rationale and evidence for those positions.

To say that a certain tax kills jobs or spending money on ethanol subsidies is good for the environment needs to be supported with evidence, not broad and sweeping rhetoric designed to appeal to our emotions. Today, there are far too many policy decisions made without the benefit of data and rationale debate.

So to all candidates, do what’s right. Respect your constituency. Debate ideas. Cite evidence. And stop trying to scare me with ads about “the other” candidate to get me to vote for you.

Paul Kaftanski