Time to put away nasty campaign, build bridges

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

The election campaigning is over, thank goodness. Now let's pray for a fast return to civility that will remind us that we are, after all, Alaskans and neighbors.

The past many weeks have not been pleasant ones. In fact, they have been downright ugly in the mean-spirited campaigns that were conducted with half-truths, bold-faced lies, slurs and character assassinations almost without end.

You'd think we lived in New Jersey or Florida or New York or Illinois, where slash and burn politics are a way of life and negative attack campaigns are the rule.

It didn't used to be that way in Alaska. The sad change in the way Alaskans seek office is a reflection, no doubt, of the increased amount of money flowing into Alaska political campaigns from Outside sources.

Unfortunately, Alaska is a prime target for those with a national political agenda. For a relatively small investment, green lobbies and national political parties can throw big dollars into an Alaska campaign in hopes of influencing the outcome of a gubernatorial or congressional election -- and thus have a powerful impact on the makeup of the U.S. House or Senate or gain control of the governor's office.

National money means national politicking -- with all the big guns who are experts in manipulating the media and who are masters of the art of dirty campaign tactics. It's a sorry thing to see. But for now, at least, the name-calling and animosities and spitefulness should be behind us. We encourage the candidates, winners and losers, to remember that they are first and foremost Alaskans. It's a time to mend fences, to try to heal wounds, and get on with the job of building this state.

-- Voice of the (Anchorage) Times

Nov. 6

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