Forty-three years ago, Peter Finch gave his “I’m Mad As Hell” speech in the movie Network, and it’s as relevant today as it was then, perhaps even more so.

Today it’s too much “fake news,” an increasingly blurred line between fact and fiction, and name-calling rather than a reasoned argument. Instead of discussing the important issues, we are being distracted with tactics that focus on making us afraid and angry. It’s no wonder that so many people are turned off politics. 

Negative, fear-based campaigning is not good for anyone. It discourages women, who face more frequent and more vicious personal attacks than do men, from running for political office. It discourages racialized people from putting their names forward as well. It damages our democracy and stops us from hearing all voices we need to hear to find solutions to our common problems. 

We have to find ways to encourage people to run so that our legislatures, our civic forums, and our boardrooms reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. We have to change the way we talk to one another about politics. 

The Better Ballot Campaign is a national initiative that asks candidates and voters to take a stand against the abusive personal attacks and harassment that turn so many people off politics.  We want to get people talking about what really matters. 

The first step is for candidates and voters to take the Better Ballot Campaign pledge, which asks them to reject all personal attacks during this election, including any campaigning done in person, on paper and on screen. In other words, let’s play fair and focus on having better conversations.

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