As you know from reading this blog, I am quite interested in politics and I can be quite adamant about my political beliefs and ideals. I have been interested in politics longer than some people reading this post have been alive. If you read my ‘About Me’ page, you will find that I was working on political campaigns 28 years ago, and while my support of different political candidates may have changed over time, my interest and passion for everything else political has not waned in the least.
Over the course of the past few years I have signed up for select political e-mail lists. I don’t subscribe to every candidate’s e-mail list because, to be frank, I really don’t care what some of them have to say. It usually doesn’t take much to see that a political candidate is full of crap, so why bother subscribing to their daily/weekly/monthly drivel when you know it’s going to stink more than a portable outhouse on a hot August day?
I do, however, subscribe to a few e-mail lists because I feel the need to keep tabs on some candidates. I want to know what they are up to, what they are saying, and most importantly how their statements support or conflict with their actions. Comparing the two can be the best way to learn if you should support a candidate when they are running for office.
They say actions speak louder than words, and no matter what a candidate writes in their newsletters, their actions should be judged accordingly. Sometimes candidates don’t say anything at all and do something so completely asinine that they must be called out for it.
This, my friends, is one of those times.
This evening I am calling out Georgia Insurance Commissioner (and candidate for Governor) John Oxendine for releasing his email list to Maria Sheffield, the candidate running to replace him as Insurance Commissioner. I am also calling out Mrs. Sheffield for utilizing the addresses on that list. Whether Oxendine loaned his list or sold it to Mrs. Sheffield, it was wrong. It was wrong for him to release it and it was wrong for her to use the addresses on it.
My time is valuable, and I don’t have time to weed through unsolicited spam I did not sign up to receive. The fact that I received an unsolicited email from the Maria Sheffield campaign at not just one, but two separate email addresses I have used for just one other email list totally infuriates me. The only political email list those two addresses are subscribed to, is Mr. Oxendine’s campaign e-mail list.
There’s something inherently wrong about releasing a list of e-mail addresses of would-be political supporters without their advanced knowledge or permission.
When I signed up to receive e-mail from Mr. Oxendine, I did so because I was entertaining the idea of supporting him in his run for Governor. I wanted to learn more about his positions and listen to what he had to say about the issues.
Until yesterday I didn’t even know who Maria Sheffield was, let alone that she is running for Mr. Oxendine’s current position. I still don’t know who she is, except a political candidate who uses an unsolicited list to contact could-be supporters without their permission.
Was it unethical for Oxendine to release the list? Was it unethical for Sheffield to use the names on the list? In the many years I have received political candidate e-mails, I have never received an unsolicited e-mail from any another candidate.
Am I just being overly sensitive about this issue? I suppose that is a question for another day. One thing I can tell you, however, is that I will not be supporting Mr. Oxendine, nor Mrs. Sheffield because of this issue.
If these two can’t make the right decision to remain ethical when it comes to maintaining a simple e-mail list, how am I supposed to believe that either one of them would be able to make the right decision to remain ethical while holding public office in the future?