A June 9 letter, “Our degraded politics,” relays a quote from a Wall Street Journal reporter that in politics, “one misspoken word, one errant step is immediately broadcast around the world in minutes, if not seconds” by the media and Internet — and often with dire consequences.
To illustrate this, one need only recall 2004 presidential hopeful Howard Dean, who committed the apparently unpardonable sin of making a “funny noise” while addressing his staff after a successful primary campaign effort.
This was summarily accepted as an insurmountable death-knell to his campaign, not only by his critics but also by his supporters and himself, who no doubt correctly surmised that this slightly undignified noise would be broadcast ad nauseum by the media. He dropped out of the race.
I wondered at the time what type of society would so quickly and without thoughtful discourse discard a man whom many thought (I was not one of them) should be president, for such a trifle? And who, witnessing this, would put themselves up to run for public office? Fortunately, there are still those who do run, but what this type of conduct says about our society is highly unflattering and from a people who, deep down, know better.
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John W. Mann