When we requested each candidate in the 21st Congressional District not lie during the ensuing campaign, we did it out of desperation.
We chose our words carefully, trying not to inflame or antagonize.
We aimed for the moral high ground by making one simple request: “We ask them not to lie.”
We wanted to make this easy.
We wanted to make the decision as painless as possible for political parties that treat elections as wars.
This should have been a no-brainer.
Surely, this basic appeal to the morality of the candidates, to their basic sense of right and wrong would be something all could agree upon.
Congressional candidate Tedra Cobb responded last Thursday to the Sunday editorial. Communicating through a letter to the editor, Cobb wrote that this was “an easy commitment for me to make.”
She even challenged our reporters and editors at the newspaper to hold her and the incumbent, Elise Stefanik, “accountable to the promise of conducting an honest campaign.”
Sadly, our sitting congresswoman did not contact our editorial board at all.
When a Post-Star reporter asked to talk to her about whether she would commit to not lying in the campaign, he was told that the congresswoman was not available.
That is unfortunate, but not surprising for an incumbent politician and another indication of how far our political process has fallen.
That was part of the motive behind this request as well.
We wanted to make it clear this request came out of a sense of desperation we sense in our communities, and from our readers.
We believe we are all sick of being lied to, of being conned with political speak that is designed to confuse and obfuscate.
We are sick of the advertisements that are heavy on emotion and light on facts.
We are tired of the personal attacks.
All we asked is for both candidates not to lie, and unbelievably we could not find common ground.
We published an unscientific straw poll on poststar.com last week that goes to the heart of how far we have fallen as a society. The poll asked whether Cobb and Stefanik should pledge to not using deceitful tactics during their campaigns.
Shockingly, 15 percent of the respondents were opposed to our request.
Is 15 percent of the community really pro lying?
Is our moral compass that off kilter?
We certainly hope our congresswoman’s silence is not indicative of this train of thought.
We reach out to her again to say it is not too late.
We urge her to join Tedra Cobb in pledging not to lie during the campaign.
We urge her to commit to debates in every county of the district.
We urge her to imagine a campaign of ideas that debates the solutions to actual problems and recognizes the problems the citizens of the 21st Congressional District face.
We know one thing: the people deserve the truth.
How can you not agree with that?