It's campaign season, so I expect to see all sorts of sordid, exaggerated, and nasty political ads on TV. But then I saw D.C. House of Representatives candidate Missy Smith's baby ad. This was not the typical politician kissing a baby ad or even the hazy "Candidate X will ruin our children's future, so vote for Candidate Y" ad, but an intensely graphic ad with images of mutilated, dead babies. The voiceover for this ad is Missy Smith talking about her anger and regret over having been "exploited" into having two abortions and her mission to "end legalized child killing."
Although she is running as a Republican and Tea Party member against incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Republican party does not endorse her. Why? Most probably because she isn't a true political candidate but an anti-choice zealot who is abusing the political process to gain air time for her extremist views. Her ads (I've only seen one, but there is another) are so brutally graphic that You Tube rejected them. I'm not going to post them, but if you want to see them, you can go to her website. How did this whack job manage to get her disgusting pictures on television, during daytime and primetime viewing no less? By exploiting a law for her own crusade. Local television stations are required by law to air political campaign ads during a small window of time during election season. By calling her fanatical invectives political ads, Missy Smith was able to get them on TV.
Now whether you support a woman's fundamental right to decide what happens to her own body or you support religious zealots and paternalistic legislators making a woman's choice for her (you can guess which side of this issue I'm on), Missy Smith's approach is out of line. Although she claims to have opinions on other issues and briefly mentions them on her website, she makes it clear that "the number one duty of true patriots is to end the legalized slaughter of unborn babies." All of her campaign contributions go toward airing her anti-abortion ads. She is clearly using a loophole in campaign law to publicize her message in a manner that, in any other situation would be unacceptable.
Her ads are not only graphic but misleading. The images in the ad I saw showed fully developed babies that had been mutilated in some manner. Missy Smith says, "When people see the truth - these images of healthy and dead unborn children - they cannot escape the reality that abortion is murder." Well, these images are NOT the truth. Most abortions are performed during the first trimester, when the fetus is nowhere near fully developed. I'm not even sure the images in her ad are from abortions at any stage, as I couldn't find their source. I won't even begin to address her claim that the "abortion industry" is in cahoots with the "body parts industry" and is selling body parts of aborted babies for huge profits. I'll leave that task to her psychiatrist.
I'm sure Missy Smith won't win the Congressional seat in the D.C. race. I'm pretty sure that she doesn't expect to either. She's just using her pseudo-candidacy to take advantage of the opportunity to broadcast her reprehensible rhetoric to those unfortunate enough to be tuned in to their local TV station when her ads air. Too bad real life doesn't have a mute button.
|cartoon by Stephanie McMillan, 2006|