Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of their political bent, are sickened by the disgraceful onslaught of negative ads, that is precisely what we are going to hear and see, especially in Ohio.

This distasteful stew of misleading invective clearly harms voter turnout and trust in our system and its leaders. An airline executive recently said that if his company went after its competitors as do the political parties, everyone would be afraid to fly.

Hillary Clinton has already used millions of dollars of such ads against Donald Trump, and his recent hiring of win-at-all-costs Stephen Bannon as his campaign chief suggests this campaign will only get uglier and even more negative. The next president will face at least half a nation convinced of his or her incompetence and corruption.

Most European democracies ban negative ads because of their irreparable harm. But in this outlier nation, these disgusting stink bombs become candidatesí and partiesí primary method of communicating with voters.

The Supreme Court has ruled that false, defamatory statements about public officials are protected speech unless they are made maliciously with knowledge of their falsity. Thatís a standard impossible to prove, and it opens the flood gates of garbage, just as the courtís decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates of money.

Sadly, studies show that these ads, full of half-truths, innuendo, snarky photos and misleading data, work, and one wonders about the intelligence of the voters influenced by them. A recent study documented that most Americans say they get most of their information about candidates from such ads.

A final irony is that we never even get to know who has paid for some of the destructive drivel.

John Adams wrote, ďThere must be a Decency, and Respect, and Veneration introduced for Persons in Authority, of every Rank, or We are undone.Ē

I fear we are undone.

Jerry Graham

Twinsburg

Donít follow ?his beat

In response to the Charles Krauthammer commentary faulting President Obamaís inaction for the messy state of Middle East affairs (ďPrice of a passive president,Ē Aug. 20), I would like to remind him that Obama was elected precisely because of his anti-war stance.

I believe Libya, Syria and Egypt were wobbly dominoes waiting to fall, and the previous administration pushed the first one by invading Iraq. He talks tough, but I am not willing to march to Gen. Krauthammerís war drums.

Rob Gatian

Canal Fulton

Trump taxes ?his credibility

Why wonít Donald Trump disclose his tax returns? He obviously has something to hide. At best, perhaps he paid no income tax and didnít make any personal charitable contributions. At worst, maybe heís lying about his wealth.

Using the Internal Revenue Service audit as an excuse is just that, an excuse. The IRS has said that heís welcome to release his returns.

I donít trust him. Heís gotten more Pinocchio ratings from Fact Check than any candidate in history. Why do people think he speaks the truth? How gullible and naive his supporters are.

Janice Oakley

Sagamore Hills Township