Behaviour reflects on entire community
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 06:00 am
Election campaigns can be a time of debate, reflection, promises and even embarrassment as candidates with records stellar and not so stellar, have records thrown back at them.
The election campaign shaping up in the City of St. Albert, however, is taking a rather distasteful and, frankly, embarrassing direction of its own. St. Albert incumbent Mayor Nolan Crouse was attacked this week anonymously in two bizarre and insipid posters found hung on poles or traffic signs in Sturgeon County.
A photograph supplied to the Gazette by local RCMP was published, not in an effort to further attack or ridicule Mayor Crouse, but in fact to show the depths to which some, ashamedly, local critics of the mayor will stoop. And that's not to say the mayor, or any other candidates, don’t have their own set of sharp elbows, as those on the receiving end would attest.
Tasteless election attacks are nothing new. They stretch back centuries, to the dawn of democracy and beyond.
The U.S. presidential election of 1800 has been described by historians as one of the dirtiest in the history of democracy, as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson accused each other of, respectively, plotting to betray his country to England, being a warmonger, being an atheist, being an anarchist and, after being elected, plotting to ban Christianity.
Abraham Lincoln was attacked in newspapers by his opponents of being low-born white trash. One critic said people shouldn’t vote for Lincoln because he was “ugly.”
Here in Canada we're certainly not above that, at least at the federal level. Just ask Jean Chretien or Justin Trudeau, the subject of the most recent attack ad.
Some readers may have been surprised to see the entire poster attacking Crouse printed in this issue of the Gazette. The entire photo was printed to illustrate the amateurish, bizarre nature of the attack.
Churlish posters like the one that two RCMP detachments spent their time on this week are not only insulting to the intelligence of any right-thinking local voter, they are supremely childish behaviour, unworthy of this community.
St. Albert should rightly be considered a leader in this region, and a community others can look up to where residents behave maturely.
Is it too much to expect we can conduct a local election with civil discourse? There are serious issues to debate before we vote in October. That's where we should be focused. Stuff like this flies in the face of that goal.