An anti-bullying plea for the election season

Everyone hates a bully, right? And bullies who lie are even worse!

Unless they are a political candidate with the correct party affiliation. Then it’s totally cool to conduct oneself like a 12-year old suffering from poor parenting and self-esteem issues.

I for one am sick of it. Political dialogue has been devolving since the 1990s. We absolutely hit a new low in the 2016 election. And both sides are in on it. Remember Michelle Obama’s rousing statement, “When they go low, we go high”? Yeah, the Democrats didn’t get that memo.

Nowadays, if one is not extremely left-wing or right-wing, there’s a name for you. You’re either a snowflake, traitor, RINO, socialist; or a teabagger, Trumpster, repugnican, fascist. It gets even better with compound nouns (very German!): teabagbirther and socialcommufascimuslimism.

Confused? Let me help. As registered Republican who is a practicing Catholic, a Veteran, and a business owner who supports gun ownership, opposes the death penalty and is lukewarm at best over Trump, I am a Snowflake RINO. Unless you are on the left wing. Then I am a Repugnican GunNut. I might also be a Feminazi. It’s not entirely clear since I still let people call me Mrs. Allen.

True story: I was working with a Washington Times reporter who felt elimination of urinals on U.S. Navy ships was “Clintonian social engineering.” As I explained that as far as I knew, men could use a regular commode without sitting down, the reporter asked me if “Mrs. Allen” was the correct attribution. When I agreed, he almost gushed, he was so pleased that I had “traditional values.” Whatever. (Fun diversion: Google “Sloppy Sailors Threaten Navy Urinals.” It ran front page, above the fold. It’s my favorite attribution EVER.)

A personal note: Hamilton family, please stop calling my husband a socialist. At least in front of me. Yes, he is a registered Democrat, and yes, he has very different views on government size and spending. But not once in 25 years have I ever heard him espouse government redistribution of private wealth. Really. Besides, he’s been giving us all free legal counsel since 1994.

Anyway, it goes without saying that all 2020 statewide campaigns are going negative. The GOP primary in CD2 is a shining example. Three Republicans are skewering each other with lowest-common-denominator campaign rhetoric. Bonus: they don’t even have to attack the Democrat incumbent because the President is taking care of that this very week with an exhaustive network TV buy portraying her as Speaker Pelosi’s BFF.

Closer to home, and on the other side of the aisle, it’s been completely gloves-off in the Albuquerque City Council races and runoffs. While they are technically non-partisan, everyone knows who is whom and the color of their party. And the Democrats in District 6 who challenged incumbent Isaac Benton were merciless, as were PACs supporting the Benton campaign in retaliation. I will give one kudo to the Albuquerque Democratic factions: they really relied on PACs which is a great way to fudge campaign finance.

If the last months of campaign mailers and TV ads are any indicator, it’s going to be an MMA-worthy election season. We’re in for a wild 11 months. I do hope New Mexicans will start to take anti-bullying seriously. Or at least until our kids are old enough to vote.

Merritt Hamilton Allen is a PR executive and a former Navy officer. She lives north of I-40 where she and her family run two head of dog, and one of cat.