Letters to the Editor

Court challenges might find truth

As much as I dislike litigation as a solution to problems, often it is the only solution. Kelly Emerson should be applauded for filing a lawsuit against John Dean and asking the court to sort out the truth. The deterioration in the integrity of political campaigns in recent years is appalling. It seems political campaigns have gotten a free ride in personal attacks, defamation, lies and slander. I do not know the merits of Kelly’s case, but it is time for the courts to begin to hold folks accountable for campaign activities.

We all know that the constitutional right of free speech is restrained from lies resulting in libel and slander to others. Yet political campaigns have consistently resorted to fabrications and twisted truth (lies) to attack opponents. While damage done to candidates is bad enough, the real problem is misinformed voters who believe these charges and vote against someone they would normally support if they knew the truth. Yet how can voters know the truth? The courts seem to be the only recourse in holding campaigns to the truth.

You might ask why political campaigns use these tactics since some say it reacts negatively on the campaign making charges. The truth is it often works. Too many voters tend to believe these charges. I speak from my experience in losing a legislative race. In the primary election as a Republican, I had a comfortable lead over my Democrat opponent. For the 10 days prior to the general election the state Democrat party set out a mailer every day making charges which were patently untrue (lies). It was too late to rebut those charges. My phone rang constantly asking how I could do such things. The answer was, “I didn’t.” But the voters gave my opponent the victory. I know this kind of activity goes on in many campaigns with no accountability to the truth. Remember how Rick Larsen repeatedly charged John Koster with positions taken which were patently untrue and continually refuted by Koster, but no one held him accountable — and he won the election.

I would not argue that this is not done by both political parties, but it seems the Democrats are more often guilty of this, especially in the recent election. Most Democrat incumbents running for federal offices avoided running on their legislative record, and the only remaining avenue open seemed to be to attack opponents, with lies if necessary. I hope you will agree with me that it is time to clean up our political campaigns, require truth and accountability, and punish those in violation thereof.

Barney Beeksma

Oak Harbor

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