The political ads have been bombarding us for awhile now. We still have four months until the election which means many more ads will be crossing our paths. Even though Americans say they don’t want to see negative campaigning, every year it seems like the political ads get nastier and nastier.
We must remember though that some things are just in poor taste. For instance, an electronic billboard in Caldwell, Idaho compares President Obama to the Aurora massacre suspect James Holmes. Surrounding a picture of Holmes reads: “Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault rifle, everyone freaks out.” Beside that is a picture of President Obama. Surrounding his picture are the words: “Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize.”
Poor taste, my friends.
The libertarian group, The Ralph Smeed Foundation, sponsoring the billboard says that it is in response to President Obama’s broken promise to bring home the troops. Foundation member Maurice Clements stated:
We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan.”
He added that the group isn’t trying to connect President Obama to Holmes. “We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic,” he said. Rather, they’re trying to show outrage over the number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. There are a couple of problems here. First, the billboard is just offensive, especially when the Aurora massacre is so fresh and many of those killed are just being put to rest now. Second, President Obama isn’t the one who sent soldiers overseas to begin with. If you recall, this happened under the Bush administration. Yes, he said he would bring our troops home. But if you know anything about the situation, you’d know that it is more complicated than just withdrawing our troops. It’s an unstable country. Third, if you aren’t trying to compare Holmes with President Obama, why have their pictures side by side with comparative messages surrounding them? Yes, you are most definitely trying to get Americans to draw connections here.
The debate about the effectiveness of President Obama’s foreign policy is a good one. However, going about it in this manner isn’t conducive and is just hurtful to those affected by the Aurora shooting. There has to be a better way to start that conversation.