By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor
In life, you are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to enter a storm.
– William Augustus Jones
Hopefully, the relentless torrent of toxic political commercials we have experienced this election cycle has ended.
Marketing professionals have projected a record $9 billion in midterm ad spending, including $17.2 million locally. But, sadly, most of the ads make outlandish claims, are misleading and even contain outright lies.
Yet, the ads are only a part of a toxic political communication process, which now seems to be out of control, ultimately leading to violence and a dangerously divided society. For too long, the public has been inundated with abusive language that attacks us over our differences.
The midterm election results will determine whether we continue in a political storm of hate and division or move forward to restore unity and healing.
On the surface, the Republican message is about inflation, crime, and taxes. Yet, the GOP has unleashed an overwhelming flood of negative ads nationally that feed on racial stereotypes.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Val Demings, of Florida, who is running for U.S. Senate, have both been depicted with the angry Black woman trope.
This toxic stereotype demonizes Black women as more hostile, aggressive, overbearing, illogical, ill-tempered, and bitter.
A U.S. Senate candidate from Wisconsin, Mandela Barnes, is also a victim of false, divisive, and racist attack ads. Opponents’ strategic tactics have darkened his skin tone and labeled him as soft on crime to gin up fear associated with the “black brute” stereotype, a threat to insult or assault white women and families.
Will Political Rhetoric Impact local candidate races?
Strategic political communication that demonizes our differences will undoubtedly affect several local candidates.
Yet, Elgin Rogers will probably survive in his campaign for Ohio House District 44. In State Senate District 11, Paula Hicks-Hudson should also overcome a tough race in a gerrymandered district.
However, I am watching the 42nd State House District race most closely. Can Erika White’s charisma, labor experience, and constant community presence break through the GOP’s political narrative to upset Monclova Township’s, Derek Merrin? We will see. White certainly has a reasonable opportunity for success.
What is certain is that we must abandon the demonization of racial, religious, cultural, and other differences. Therefore, regardless of the 2022 midterm election results, let us celebrate our uniqueness and incorporate justice into our policy goals and priorities to restore unity and desperately needed healing. Achieving social, economic, environmental, racial, and gender justice are vital.
Healthy communication goes a long way in moving forward.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org