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Smith dinner shows what campaign could be

If you haven't seen some of the clips of the quips from Thursday night's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York, take some time and watch. Maybe then you won't be so jaded about the political process in America. This year's dinner was a chance for Barack Obama and John McCain to take a night off from the presidential campaign and have a little fun. They told jokes about themselves and each other and even complimented each other. Big time. Watching the news stories about the event this morning, I had one question: Why can't they be like this all the time?

There are certainly serious issues facing presidential candidates, not to mention the American people, every four years. But lately the campaign has taken on a particularly negative tone. And with just more than two weeks to go before Election Day (if you don't take advantage of early voting before that), the rhethoric is showing the nasty side of American politics that cause so many of us to tire of the all of it. 

Imagine instead a campaign full of good-natured ribbing and compliments. Imagine if candidates told you every day, instead of just one night, what a great person their opponent is. Imagine if the campaign was about a candidate building himself up, touting his own record and emphasizing his strengths instead of trying to knock down his opponent, discredit the opponent's record and emphasizing the opponent's weaknesses. Imagine.

Like the nearly four-decade-old debate on ending America's dependency on foreign oil, year in and year out we tell our politicians we want less mud-slinging on the campaign trail. Yet every election we eat up that mud they sling and believe exaggerations, mistruths and flat-out lies to help decide our vote. And in the end, we get what we deserve: an America divided and distrustful and struggling, if not altogether failing, to maintain our role as the greatest democracy and the greatest nation in the world.

By: Kevin Wuzzardo


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