The tone of the recent November elections left many of us disappointed. Criticisms, judgments, scoldings and campaigns bordering on hate never seemed to end. Campaign themes were toxic and rhetorically mean-spirited. This occurred daily. Rather than a civil discourse based on wisdom and reasoning, and on finding ways to collectively find the common good, candidates tended to operate on a downward spiral.

In all of this there was a trait that may have exceeded the populace’s disgust concerning the low-life mode(s) of campaigning. It was this: the outlandish spending of personal fortunes — inherited or otherwise — by various candidates. The man who won the governorship of Illinois spent $171.5 million dollars of his own money. His losing opponent spent nearly $50 million. Slander and negative innuendo in these expenditures, mostly, were ongoing.

Is this a waste of money that could otherwise be better used to benefit the needy, or help to advance programs of vital medical research, etc.?

Anyone has a right to spend (or squander) his or her money. But to spend millions upon millions of dollars to gain high office tends to reflect ego more than idealism. I don’t agree that any candidate can bring $171.5 million worth of insights, administrative brilliance  and unity principles to the body politic – or even $1 million. Spending $171.5 million is largess in its most wasteful ego-centrism.

Society should find ways to level the political playing field. Practical ideas, not wealth and marketing slander, should dominate races for public office.

Perry Klopfenstein, Gridley


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