From the In Box:
I would like to voice my objection to the use of deceptive slate mailers in the current city council race. Over the past month, we have received 5 separate mailers from the following groups:
The Voter Information Guide
The Coalition for Senior Citizen Security
The Council of Concerned Women Voters
The Democratic Election Education Guide, and
The Women's Election Education Guide
All five mailers appear to be from supporters of progressive candidates and state initiatives. All five endorse Jerry Brown for governor, Barbara Boxer for senator, and urge a no vote on Prop. 23, the roll back of California environmental law. Four of the five endorse Prop. 19, the marijuana legalization initiative. And, all five endorse Kristin Gaspar and Dan Dalager for Encinitas city council. Most importantly, and this is key, all five suggest you take the mailer with you to the polls, to assist you if you want a template to guide your vote.
Is this legal? I suppose so. Is it ethical? What do you think? To me, it is a blatant attempt to hijack this election on the backs of voter apathy and ignorance. It is the height of cynicism for Kristen and Dan to feign allegiance to candidates and positions in direct contradiction to their values, in the hope that voters will not be paying attention. It treats fair elections, the lifeblood of a democracy, as a process to be gamed and manipulated .The weakness in any democracy is voter apathy and ignorance. These mailers are a direct attempt to capitalize on this weakness, and that is cynicism in its highest form. We deserve better.
Let's not plead ignorance in this matter. Kristen and Dan, are you really Jerry Brown supporters? The implication is clearly that people who are should vote for you. Will you vote for Barbara Boxer and yes on legalizing marijuana? Perhaps this is the way elections are won in countries with no tradition of free elections or democracy, but this is not the way elections should be won in America, and not in our town. You may say this is just the way the world is. I say, it is a world you are fabricating, not the one I prefer to live in. You may say this is an exercise in free speech. I say, it is a perversion of free speech, and thankfully one in which your opponents have declined to participate. I ask you, is this what you want to teach our kids about how democracy works? That it's okay to portray yourself as something totally at odds with your core principles, as long as you win?
The only way to counter this perversion of free speech is to call attention to it, shine a light on it, and to exercise that same right by insisting - enough is enough.