Demanding honesty in politics

On both sides of the aisle, greater transparency is needed.

Daily Editorial Board

In the vicious and fiery climate that is the nature of American politics, the tactics that candidates use in elections to sway voters are contributing to the misinformation and division of the American public. Politicians are more than capable of using language to shift opinions, as well as draw attention away from their own less-than-spotless records.

The Mitt Romney campaign recently put out an ad disparaging President Barack Obama’s proposed changes to welfare, characterizing the proposal as a federal law that would drop work requirements for recipients. In reality, Obama’s plan for welfare reform, which has not yet been approved, would give individual states the right to experiment with programs better suited to the needs of its residents, with the ultimate goal of permanent employment in mind.

The Republicans aren’t the only party guilty of distorting reality; an Obama campaign ad claimed that Romney supported a bill that would outlaw abortion entirely, even in cases of rape or incest. Though Romney supports the Republican platform, which is in favor of a no-exceptions ban on abortion, he has explicitly clarified that he is pro-life with exceptions to women who are victims of rape or incest or when the woman’s life may be in danger during the childbearing process. Furthermore, Romney has never backed a real bill or law that would put a total ban on abortion.

It’s understandable why many of the nation’s voters are exhausted of both campaigns: They are sick of the distortion and the exaggeration of out-of-context statements. They are tired of the pitting of one party against the other, and they can see through the transparency of attempted character disparagement when they know no real policy claims can be made.

An election process with debate about policy and direction is what makes a democracy work and what makes it great. More importantly, it is honest and respectful to the American public.