In an article he wrote for Time.com, Abdul-Jabbar expressed his dismay at both political parties for what he called “deceit.”
“Giving the people the freedom to elect their representation is a core American ideal that is being abused. Instead of educating Americans, the mudslinger ads just create more confusion and chaos for the voters to sift through. How are Americans to make the best decisions for themselves when both of their options spend more money and time lying about one another instead of articulating how voting for them is the right decision?”
Abdul-Jabbar points out that just 16 states consider making false political statements a crime and that a federal judge in Ohio decided that criminalizing over misleading or false statements infringed on free speech.
The Hall of Fame center known for the “sky hook” wrote that in Mitt Romney’s 2011 Presidential campaign, he edited a clip from President Obama’s 2008 campaign against John McCain to make it seem as if Obama said, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”
“That was a lie,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “The President’s actual comment stated that ‘Senator McCain said, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ Subtle, yet effectively misleading people in order to steer them away from President Obama.”
Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism was not limited to Republicans.
“The Democrats are guilty too, as they spent nearly twice the amount of money Republicans did on advertisements that focused on convincing seniors that Republicans were trying to take away their Medicare benefits.
“Lying isn’t the only tool that politicians use to skew the votes in their favor. Shorter voting hours, voter identification laws, and redistricting are different ways that politicians try to influence voter outcome. Shorter hours make it increasingly difficult for people who can’t afford to leave work to get to the polls in time. Voter I.D. laws, in theory, are to protect against the ultra-rare cases of voter fraud. Redistricting is where the district lines are redrawn in order to encircle the area that would give the candidate a favorable advantage.”
He added his call to action is about “holding the men and women in public office to a higher standard. Instead of preying on the weak and disadvantaged, allow the voting process to be fair for all citizens. Sneakily silencing voters is a crime against America and the freedoms we boast so proudly.”