Some of the candidates for Governor, or their party, have been hurling accusations of unethical behavior against other candidate(s) in a couple of well publicized cases. None of these involve our campaign. Without attempting to reach a conclusion in regard to the merit or lack of merit of any of these claims, I am concerned that the focus is being taken off the economic and other major issues facing Maine.
While I would never want to reduce the importance of any legitimate claim should they be found to exist, at the same time, as one of the candidates and as a Mainer, I don't want this election to descend into a circus type atmosphere.
Conflicts may increase media ratings or even be entertaining to some, but Maine is at a too important point, at too important a time, in this important race, to be consumed by less than our best.
And politics is not a game in which the ends of being elected justifies any means.
I believe that we can allow circus type activities to consume us when as both citizens and candidates we lose faith in regard to what public service really means.
And some politicians just do want to see themselves get elected as their primary goal. For these individuals, it is difficult to be humble or primarily service oriented when one is overly concerned with status, power, publicity or prestige. Those qualities do not go over well in Maine, yet we've become almost conditioned to expect that politicians may behave like used car salesmen (which my guess is has at least a few extremely good individuals found within that mix also).
Cynicism today sometimes passes for wisdom. I do not see it that way.
In a recent Magic City Morning Star article, I talked about Maine leading the way. We certainly have the potential to do that but it involves collectively wise choices. In contrast, we're free to act like we're electing Bozo the Clown if we decide we wish to do so.
If you agree, I ask all to put away anything less than that which inspires us to greatness. People feel inspired in different ways. For some it is a role model. For others it is nature. For others it is achievement or money. Certainly love is inspiring.
Good and bad habits are each conditioned. We can find (relatively speaking) better and worse TV, better and worse reading, and better and worse elections and campaigning. Please, as voters, don't let election 2006 slide into the ridiculous. Encourage the candidates and the media to talk about substantial issues. If a "scandal" does arise it should be followed up, but let us not have politics as a whole descend into a game of "gotcha". Tactics are fair game for review. But they can easily become a distraction away from policy or performance, and candidates realize this well.
The quality of this election is still being written.
Let us write it well.
Alex Hammer is an Independent candidate for Governor residing in Bangor. The campaign's website is www.hammer2006.politicalgateway.com