Enough of the attacks

The presidential election is heating up, as the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth launched an attack on Sen. John Kerry's service record in Vietnam, saying the senator has embellished, or even outright lied about his service to our country.

Sen. Kerry has called on President Bush to denounce the ads, as has Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war who has endorsed Bush's reelection bid. The president, in turn, while not singling out the Swift Boat group's ads, has called for an end to all attack ads from the so-called 527 groups, groups which are independent of the official campaign staff and are not allowed to coordinate their efforts with official campaign organizations.

All of this has taken focus away from what should be the real issues. The war in Iraq, skyrocketing health care costs, jobs, the economy and national security. While both candidates have platforms that address these issues, neither point of view is being heard over the sound bytes and charges being put forth in attack ads.

This disturbing trend can even be seen in local ads, where the supporter of one legislative candidate takes the other to task for a single vote, not taking into account the context of the vote; or where the Speaker of the House takes one area candidate to task for serving pie at a campaign gathering, threatening legal action.

Voters should ignore these petty squabbles. Let's focus on the real issues. We have an economy where health care costs are a growing burden on businesses and individuals. We have real threats to national security. We have a number of other issues that need to be addressed.

It's time the candidates…and their supporters…stop treating voters like idiots and start treating them with respect.

(Chuck Kajer)

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