Candidates put best face forward - April Avison

In our quest to find something wrong with the Democratic presidential candidates, we stumbled upon something juicy last week.

Has John Kerry had Botox injections, wondered talk show hosts across the country.

There is an obvious difference in Kerry's "before and after" photos, which depict a sagging, wrinkled face in November 2003, and a bright sunny smile in January '04.

It's hilarious how much airtime – and I'll concede, column space – is wasted trying to find something to scrutinize about these candidates. What the heck does Kerry's possible use of Botox have to do with his ability to serve the country? Nothing.

It kind of makes me wonder if critics are having a hard time finding something wrong with these candidates. Bill Clinton was easy to criticize. Perhaps Kerry, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark and John Edwards are not so easy.

The political pundits will no doubt find some dirt on these men as the race to Election Day continues. But the problem is, an alcoholic brother or a womanizing aide doesn't really cast blame on the candidate himself. And the truth is that you can dig deep enough and find that every human being is connected to something or someone that is "bad" by societal standards. I'm sure even Mother Theresa had an uncle who went through drug rehab – or something.

The point is, maybe there's not so much to criticize here. Maybe we could look at the positives of the upcoming presidential election instead of trying so hard to find footage that exemplifies Howard Dean's bad temper.

It seems to me that creating such entertainment out of an important political process trivializes the election and the work that these men are doing to better our country.

Don't get me wrong, I laugh at the satirical impressions on "Saturday Night Live" and I'm not so na?ve as to believe that politics is all goodness and harmony. But it wouldn't hurt for the media – and the public – to take presidential elections a little more seriously.

April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at aavison@henryherald.com.