Washington Death with Dignity ballot initiative

Washington state's Death with Dignity ballot measure is taking over the airwaves. As you can imagine, the advertisements are more macabre than typical political
October 28, 2008
 

Washington state's Death with Dignity ballot measure is taking over the airwaves. As you can imagine, the advertisements are more macabre than typical political fare. Here are some ads and media against the initiative. Here are some in favor of the initiative.

As a political observer, I find the campaigns on both sides fascinating. Who are the voters targeted by the ads? Are there true "undecideds"? It strikes me as the sort of deeply personal issue about which most people would have an immediate, almost innate response; is this more a matter of "rolling out the base" on the respective sides of the issue?

These make for interesting case studies in delicate politics. The "arguments" being used and how each side "sells" its take on the initiative are pretty much the same as other political ads, e.g., they emphasize certain policy particulars, raise "the other side lied about..." issues, and lay out hypothetical good or bad outcomes that might have happened under the law or did happen under similar laws elsewhere. That said, these ads do seem more somber, perhaps even more respectful of the other side, than do most political ads.

Perhaps that's just me. Or maybe it owes to the fact that many of the stars of the ads are discussing deceased loved ones--or in some cases are themselves now deceased. I really can't tell: do the ads exhibit more decency than other ads, or does the viewer view them through a lens of decency due to the subject matter?

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