Saturday, June 12, 2010

Election Campaign Thoughts

Bernice Paglia and Old Doc have done an excellent job of telling it like it is and I thank them for their service to the public. We are lucky to have bloggers that are energetic and persistent in following the often confusing chain of political events in Plainfield. I do not wish to be repetitive so my comments are more on the personal side.

This campaign brought a very difficult choice for me. I have a lot of respect for Rashid Burney and Rebecca Williams. And they are both close friends of mine. It is safe to say that there are few people in Plainfield who have done more for our city than these two. Certainly none of those who criticized one of them during the campaign has their record of civic accomplishments.

Both candidates inspired passionate supporters, also friends of mine and on both sides, to work on their behalf. It's a huge compliment when serious, committed people line up as your supporter. And both Rebecca and Rashid deserve this kind of support. Neither one deserved the personal attacks that surfaced during the campaign.

My definition of an ethical, issues oriented election campaign does not include personal attacks. Here is my hope for the future in Plainfield elections:
1. Stick to the issues.
2. The incumbents record is fair game. The challengers past civic activities and related employment are fair game. Get their histories right. Use facts, not the assumptions of others (which can be self-serving). Do your own homework on your opponent. Attack the record, not the person.
3. If a candidate "misbehaves", attack the behavior, not the character of the person.
4. When an overzealous supporter engages in personal attacks, his/her candidate disavows the unethical attack.

In this primary, the rhetoric and accusations escalated as we got closer to election day. There is one source of contentiousness that was so "over the top" that it needs to be highlighted as harmful to Plainfield and not just to the candidates. Jerry Greens mailer and blog exemplified the textbook use of scapegoating, guilt by association and distortion of facts. I know Rashid Burney very well and there is no way he had anything to do with the Assemblyman's attacks on Rebecca Williams.

Hard feelings will linger from this primary campaign. It is important that Rebecca, Rashid and all their dedicated supporters resolve differences and unite behind the cause that led us into politics in the first place: the betterment of Plainfield.


Anonymous said...

I applaud your comments. However, are we to assume by your ommission that you don't believe that the mailers and blogs of Ms. Williams ever "exemplified the textbook use of scapegoating, guilt by association and distortion of facts"? I take you at your word regarding Mr. Burney, but does your ommission regarding the behavior of Ms. Williams mean you stand behind everyting Ms. Williams wrote or said about him? Fair is fair, and if something is wrong for one side, it is wrong for the other. So which is it? Your supporters, especially those that feel as you do about Rashid deserve an answer. I understand how you feel about Chairman Green, how do you feel about Ms. Williams conduct?

Anonymous said...

Your statements in your blog are correct. It is unfortunate that people cannot express views like this during the election. Perhaps we could have kept everyone on track instead of having to constantly read and hear about the smears generated, especially by Jerry Green.

Rebecca Williams said...

Thanks, as always, Cory, for your reasoned statement. I am very appreciative of your support during my election campaign. It was good to be on the other side of the process--I remember when I served as your campaign manager back in the fall of 2003--we walked in good weather and bad, when we were tired, when we had to sacrifice other aspects of our lives to keep ourselves in front of the residents day after day. I enjoy the canvassing, though, and I look forward to going back out in a few weeks to catch up to those residents who were not home when we stopped by, and to those streets that we just didn't have enough time to get to. I thank you again for your friendship and support. The strength and ethical leadership that you bring to the council is part of what I admire so much about you, and if I am successful in November, I will work hard to match you in strength and leadership. You are the best.


Cory Storch said...

To anonymous who applauds my comments "but": I believe that both candidates stepped over the line in their campaigns in their use of facts. In my blog I made reference to each side's misuse of facts. I did not feel it necessary to get specific about who and what regarding the two candidates. I did feel it necessary to be specific about Assemblyman Green for two reasons. He was over the top and he is the local Democratic leader and has the most to do with setting the tone for election campaigns in Plainfield.