War on Rhetoric

Labor Day is usually the kick off for more than just football season. It signals the onset of the 60 day slugfest that is election season.

We’d like to argue for passionate, on point debates about the merits of a policy or a difference of opinion – well actually we will argue for that anyway – but we’re certain to be in for surface level platitudes about who is worse for America: Obama or the Koch Brothers.

The level of civic discourse in our country is a sad state of affairs, considering we’re the country that gave the world the Lincoln- Douglass Debates, Lincoln’s Cooper Union Speech, JFK’s Inaugural Address and Reagan’s great quip in 1984 about not holding Mondale’s “youth and inexperience” against him.

Even the current president, despite being hated passionately by so many, still maintains a way with words that makes it hard for normal people to dislike him, even when they disagree with him.

That’s something that’s been lost on far too many politicians. Take Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. for instance. He threw away a sure path to victory by trashing his opponent mercilessly, even going so far as the week before his ignoble defeat to make light of those who complained about his hard ball rhetoric.

Instead of bloodying his opponent’s nose, Berger Jr. could have touted his strengths as an elected official, his love of family and country and the many positive things he would do in Congress. Instead, he ran against Obama, immigrants and his opponent’s ideas, only to be trounced on election day.

Others should learn the lesson Berger Jr. was blindsided with. Namely, that Americans might be just about fed up with angry talk and ceaseless rhetoric. We live in critical times. Aging infrastructure, shrinking tax bases and critical needs for investment in education and environmental protection remain unaddressed while politicians campaign endlessly and bombard the airwaves with divisive rhetoric.

So here’s to you, forward thinking politician, who will talk to voters as they deserve, in clear, measured terms about your goals and your ideas. We can size up your opponent pretty well left to our own devices. !

YES! WEEKLY chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration .