This is the year of mid-term elections. The representatives we elect shape our economy and affect our lives in diverse ways. In the upcoming elections, the question is whether the opinion-swaying powers will be impartial and honest to lead the voters to understand the issues correctly.

Will the politicians be straightforward? When the debates start heating up on air and in print, will families and friends be able to dine and discuss politics together? Will the next election lead to a more cohesive society or will it enlarge the fissures in the existing continental divides?

Politics is divisive, but can it be conducted in a way that families, church members and coworkers can differ on issues without developing nauseous feelings about each other?

Every election season, our mailboxes are overstuffed with "vote for me" fliers. On it, the smiling face of the candidate is accompanied by flashy data and slogans. Some present honest analyses of issues when presenting their cases and show how they will be a force for a change for the better. But there are many who want us to vote for them only because their opponents are "bad" without disclosing what is good about themselves that will make them perform better. Physical and economic well-being of citizens are necessary for a healthy society. A common person, after paying taxes, housing and health care expenses should be left with enough money to enjoy a healthy meal and an enjoyable time with his family and friends and be able to squeeze through emergencies.

Does it make one good by proving that the other is bad? In the political debate, this makes a critical question both for candidates and voters. Voters and the media should demand that candidates prove the robustness and validity of their plans for the country and show their ability to make improvements in the physical and economic welfare of the masses.

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Rather than addressing the needs of the masses, some candidates go for each other's throats and display each other's dirty laundry. Television networks help fuel the fire by digging out dirt from decades past. By attacking each other's character, candidates display the worth of their own moral standing and their ability to lead when under personal or impersonal attack. The sizzling venoms at the top trickle down to masses, poisoning the whole society.

Political news coverage can be balanced to attract more viewers while enlightening the audience about the real issues that affect their present and future. Good media networks honor the sanctity of their professional obligations and the needs of the public while satisfying their business goals. Candidates should not participate in significant debates and programs which are not accessible to all voters.

Let the public, the media and the politicians all resolve to deliver elections that bring us together despite our ideological diversity.

Ahmad is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages. He has translated, compiled and co-authored “A Gift for the Queen,” “Points to Ponder,” “Why Islam is my choice” and “Words of Wisdom.” He lives in fargo and can be reached at