Most campaigns each year resort to lies, slander, libel and distortion of facts, especially when a candidate feels he or she is losing the race and hopes to win at any cost! An example of this is when my opponent in 2010 sent 118 pages of false allegations to the media and multiple regulatory agencies (the FBI, the State Attorney, the Ethics Commission, the Inspector General, etc…), including insinuating that I might be a convicted felon who burglarized a car in a parking lot during the time that I already owned a large hotel and multiple commercial buildings! The county and state ethics commissions and the Inspector General investigated all his 118 pages of allegations, and found them all to be baseless! He made a fool of himself, receiving 6 percent of all votes cast during the November 2010 county elections.
Today, candidates still resort to all kinds of “character assassination,” especially when they feel they are losing. This is reinforced by the candidate’s supporters, who consider all opposing candidates as fair game, hiding behind “freedom of speech.” These vicious supporters with no conscience believe that “freedom of speech” means “freedom to lie, slander and libel” your opponent.
Our legal system needs to address this very serious, growing problem. This is the main reason most good men and good women, who should occupy elected government positions, refuse to run for political office and subject themselves and their families to this unrestrained public abuse!
“We The People” are most often left to choose between “the lesser evil.” This is not Democracy! May God help us from this shameful destructive campaign practice.
Jess R. Santamaria, District 6 County Commissioner, Royal Palm Beach