Campaign bullying doesn't work

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, November 04, 2004

Many times in the past several weeks I've answered the phone only to hear a pre-recorded, smug, yet soon snarling voice lob insults at a political candidate and his or her party. (There have been a number of different varieties of the same recording, with different speakers.) The speakers accuse a political candidate of various crimes, and then, as a kind of after-thought, mention the sterling qualities of the candidate behind the phone calls.

I have something to say to those who manage political campaigns.

Did I grant you permission to snarl into my ear? Do you imagine that, as an article of faith, every voter wishes to hear political candidates attacked? Do you really imagine that I am so lacking in intelligence that I would make a decision to vote for a candidate on the basis of a self-satisfied, ugly, pre-recorded rant against another candidate?

Please let me correct any mistaken assumptions you may have made about me.

I am quite intelligent. I do not make decisions on the basis of rants. I do make decisions based on demonstrated commitments to issues I feel are of primary importance. If a candidate is an incumbent, or has held political office at some time, I base this judgment on how the candidate has voted upon, introduced, or failed to introduce significant pieces of legislation. If the candidate is new to the political sphere, I base my judgment upon the degree of knowledge and care concerning a subject that is evident in his or her discussions of issues, or in his or her life experience.

I would hazard a guess that more voters are like me than you might imagine. You might wish to reconsider your campaign strategy.

You might also want to consider what it means that a significant number of voters, such as myself, are registered as nonpartisans. The choice of nonpartisan does not mean that the voter has a dizzying lack of will and is eager to be swayed by phone messages that are the verbal equivalent of swill. It reflects, rather, a dedication to issues, and not parties.

With all due respect, I cannot be bullied into believing I was born with either a donkey or an elephant tattooed on my brain. Next time you push the button that launches a thousand diatribes, remember me. I'm intelligent, and I vote.

Morissa Lou Williams


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