Freedom squandered

Freedom squandered

: Elie Wiesel, a man who truly understands the value of freedom and democracy, is disappointed and depressed about this election.

Has it always been this way? Have we always had adversaries hurling insults at each other rather than allowing debate and analysis to influence undecided voters? Should we be afraid to trust the public to comprehend the issues in depth? One could almost say that the goal is not to inspire but to incite, not to inform but to dumb down.

I’m not talking about the candidates themselves. I have deep esteem for one and great respect for the other. They represent two political ideologies, two philosophies for this society, and each of us is free to choose the one with whom we identify.

But why the disagreeable, offensive tone that emanates from this event?

Wiesel has covered American presidential elections since Kennedy v. Nixon and he has never seen a year like this.

In every case, the supporters and spokesmen of both the incumbent and the opposition expressed themselves with ardor, conviction and dedication.

But never with such violence as we see today….

Why this need, among people on both sides, to let the discussion be dominated by nastiness and ugliness? And why don’t they listen to the voices calling for an end to this slide into the gutter? Do we care about what our children think as they watch this on television? What are they to make of the exchanges, insults and attacks among politicians? …

This presidential campaign is full of verbal violence. In fact, it’s bursting with it. Instead of elevating the debate, this campaign is debasing it. Instead of examining the serious problems of a society in crisis, it’s treating them in a superficial way. Rather than comparing one philosophical doctrine with its counterpart, the campaigns are succumbing to propaganda — propaganda that is striking for its excessive anger and its lack of elegance, generosity and even simple courtesy.

This is the election of shame. [via Keats’ Telescope]