The Electoral Process and the Death of Civility

By Joe Sweeney

Bitter disappointment, from the tenor of the campaigns to the failures in vote tabulation.

I believe in and greatly value democracy. But I have to ask: After 244 years and 45 presidential administrations, how in God’s name could America make the historic blunders it has witnessed throughout the 2020 election cycle?

I fear that if and when the onion is peeled back, we will uncover numerous unethical actions, likely some illegal ones, relating to voter fraud. And in many cases, by the very same organizations, leaders and elected officials empowered to ethically manage the election process in each state and for our nation.

This cringefest started earlier than most and made for months of personal disdain in the run-up to the general election. We were bombarded with the most ridiculous and unsubstantiated attack ads, mostly produced by slick out-of-market messaging sharks who understand nothing of our shared Missouri-Kansas values. Invariably, they take snippets of a candidate’s past positions, speeches or televised interviews, then do their best to twist and discredit.

Take the Senate race in Kansas. Does anybody know what Barbara Bollier and Roger Marshall really stood for?
The vast majority of their ads were bitter attacks on each other, not strong statements of specific policy proposals. And uplifting messages from either? Far too few (though I believe both are good people and either could effectively serve in Washington).

That’s probably on us: We’re the ones who have allowed those kinds of messages to work over the past 30 years. If the candidates are going to plow billions into the firms that generate that schlock in every state, the leadership of those “communications” interests will never change. Why would it?

Even as I make a living under the protections of the 1st Amendment, I wish there were a way to prevent political-interest groups from poisoning the discussion with campaigns that too often are based on outright falsehoods.

I was raised a Democrat, and my Dad was the last elected Jackson County Assessor. He might not have been the model Democratic candidate, as he would not allow Jim Nutter and the Jackson County Machine to freely walk over him and mandate his responsibilities.

The Democratic Party, however, has evolved—or should I say, devolved—over the years. It’s not what it was. Not even close. Some ask why I have moved away from the Democrat agenda, and honestly, the party left me. I’m not a fanatic Republican by any means; I always vote for the candidate, not the party. But as a small business owner, Republican policies today align more with my beliefs. And not so very long ago, those same beliefs were tenets of the Democrats, who stood in opposition to “the rich.”

At this point, I don’t think I can recall an election that ended with my respect intact for both major-party candidates. I look at campaigns like Gov. Mike Parson vs. Nicole Galloway and wonder how on earth these two could productively align to lead our state through the remainder of her term as state auditor—until January 2023.

I rarely follow elections in other countries. I doubt many others do either. But the United States sure has provided a circus of entertainment this year, and, we’re still doing it with voting irregularities suspected in half a dozen states.

I’m very proud to be an American and hope that the mission of this magazine serves the interests of everyone in the region, irrespective of political leanings. I am disgusted, however, at the lack of civility among so many citizens—and for that matter, educated and influential leaders.

And don’t even get me started on the mechanisms by which votes are counted in this country. I don’t want to lose faith in the great experiment that is democracy, but some of the shenanigans captured on video at polling stations in the most hotly contested states leave me completely lacking in confidence that this election
was as free and fair as we’ve been promised.

It’s time for more voters to discover backbone and character, to start thinking on their own and to vote intelligently, as well as with their hearts. But until we can agree on ways to eliminate the clutter from the election cycle, the American brainwashings will continue.

About the author


Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher

One response to “The Electoral Process and the Death of Civility”

  1. Jim Clark says:

    Amen. Sadly we have devolved and our precious democracy has been brutalized in a systematic method in the name of Covid prevention. Changes need to be made in the States electorial processes before this travesty continues.

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