fingerWith college basketball season still on the horizon, none of North Carolina’s major sports teams can loft their pointer fingers and shout “We’re Number One!” — so politics have come to the rescue: a recent report by the Center For Public Integrity declared North Carolina to be “the great state of political hate,” ranked number one in the number of negative ads in a single political campaign. The senate race between Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis generated 10,800 televised ads during the week of October 14-20, according to the report, with only 24 of them carrying a positive message. That’s more than one negative ad per minute, and a large percentage of them are distorted exaggerations that sometimes cross the line into downright lies. That may not be a crime, but it’s atrocious nonetheless, a sad commentary on the state of our state and the nature of contemporary politics. Ethics and statesmanship are relics of a bygone age. Campains no longer lionize their own candidates, but demonize their opponents. It’s no wonder we’ve become so polarized that animosity rules and stubborn gridlock is the order of the day. I want to hear positive reasons why any given candidate deserves my vote, not a slew of defaming claims that the opponent deserves the boot. The only good thing about this story is that I had to read it in the paper: I watch so little commercial TV these days that the spite-filled campaign ads rarely rile me up. Maybe I should unplug the phone, too …

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