To the editor:
When Nancy Boyda blamed the loss of her congressional seat to Lynn Jenkins on negative campaigning and lies, she made a statement that, unless meant to be ironic, can only contribute to cynicism and frustration concerning elections.
Boyda said, “What this race has proven is that if you want to win, you need to tell a bunch of lies about your opponent over and over and over again and get as many third-party outside groups, from outside Kansas, to do the same thing.”
Outside influence on elections distorts representative democracy. But more importantly, the appearance that she bows to the necessity of lying can do even more harm.
Truth is essential to democracy. Without it, voters have no basis for exercising rational judgment at the polls. Lying about one’s opponent, unless rendered ineffective by exposure, helps place in office someone whose commitment to truth is demonstrably weak and who simply is not to be trusted with public responsibility.
The voters, even more than Rep. Boyda, have reason to be outraged. After she has had time for her understandable anger to subside and to reflect on the broader meaning of the lying, I hope she will clarify her position.