When George Smith writes, I read. This time, I’m writing and he’s reading.

Respectfully, his latest column (never missed one), “Politics has turned nasty” (July 15), is past tense stuff— as if new to the scene — when George knows better.

Towards end of the piece, George pens: “Why can’t they focus on telling us all about themselves and their plans if they are elected?” The reason they don’t is because they can’t! Self-authentication, George, is not what people are all about. Telling holds no candle to doing. Character strength is an inside job.

When’s the last time a political ad touted the candidate’s attributes, period? Never saw one, never will. Our political system is aggressive. The British system is less so when the royal family sends word to parliament to form a government. No political millions are involved. No knock-down dirt. All done in two weeks. Best than ours by far.

I ran three Maine Senate campaigns. Each time when the oath was given, certain chamber staff took a moment to apologize for the campaign dirt I encountered. Always forgiven.

Just picture a self-authenticating political campaign. Picture the soap box, candidate astride, blowing his or her own horn of plenty. Ho-hum. Unnatural. Uncomfortable for speakers and listeners. All over in five minutes.

Both sides come out battered and bloodied. That’s only one side of the story, George. In my first campaign, while at the Wilton polls, there to thank poll workers, a woman came out of the polling place as I was getting into my pickup, to join family to watch election results. She put her hands on my shoulders and said, “You’re the reason I voted tonight.”

Don’t take that away from us, George!

John Benoit


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