In 1974, challenger Bill Roy gave Bob Dole the closest contest of his Senate career, possibly only losing on account of dirty tricks by the Dole campaign, which put flyers with fetus images into nearly every mailbox in the city of Wichita.
Early in the 1988 Republican primary season, with a moderate Dole, strengthened by an endorsement from Alexander Haig, he himself fell victim to dirty tricks from the George Bush campaign in New Hampshire, prompting Dole to proclaim, "I want him to stop lying about my record," considered an overly defensive flash of anger in that bygone era of greater comity and decorum in our national politics.
Today I found in my mailbox an anti-Bollier flyer featuring a sonogram image of a fetus and implying that she favors late-term abortions. Nearly 50 years later, I see this not only as an echo of those tactics used against Bill Roy, but also as evidence of the lack of ingenuity in our current highly aggressive political climate. Nobody is in favor of abortions. Bollier and many other women — and men — support the right of a woman to make her own choice regarding her own body. Playing the abortion card misses the most relevant aspect of this debate.
Society, in our schools, in our legislatures, and in our courts, should be providing a network of support for women of all ages, to ensure higher rates of healthy conception, prenatal care, and early childhood nutrition, all of which would protect the sanctity of life. But I don't expect that to happen any time soon, since it is so much easier to paint a distorted picture of an election opponent by associating him or her with extreme positions on a divisive issues.
I think of it as a legacy left over from the Dole-Roy contest and it cheapens all of us.