Truth or consequences

political-podium

‘Politics season’ comes earlier each year.

Just like the Christmas season, the “politics season” now comes earlier each year, and that’s not just in presidential election years. Villagers tell me the politics season never seems to go away.

In 2016, the two principle presidential candidates spent a shocking total of nearly $2.4 billion to deliver their campaign pledges. More than half was spent on media advertising that alternately bored us to tears or drove us to outrage and frustration. Electioneering already has begun for the November 2020 elections. Total campaign expenditures for everyone running for political office next year are estimated to be staggering, topping more than $6 billion. Throw in the “freebie” publicity the media provides candidates and Villagers’ eyes and ears will be stinging and ringing nonstop until election day.

Highly irritating about this political rhetoric is that most is built upon half-truths and untruths. It’s clear that lies are fast becoming the currency of political discourse. That’s because politicians believe the public’s interest in finding the truth is small. People won’t put in the work to separate fact from fiction.

This has made it easier for politicians, backed by their parties, to take control of the business of government, removing it from the hands of the American people. It’s interesting to note that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is there anything that authorizes political parties to exercise any power over government. In fact, nowhere in the Constitution are political parties even mentioned.

Both George Washington and James Madison repeatedly warned against the dangers inherent in the growth of political parties. “The arts of electioneering will poison the fountains of liberty,” Madison wrote.

And so, what can we do to clear the air and conveniently separate the “wheat” from the “chaff.” First, once you’ve heard their messages, tune politicians out. Beware that a lie told often enough can take on the appearance of truth. Then do two things: go to their official websites and review their stands on key issues. Next, go to two information sources: govtrack.us offers free facts about officeholders and candidates including their legislation sponsorships and voting records. Ballotpedia.org is another nonprofit website providing verifiable information on government officials and candidates, and their views on political issues.

Remember: if you’re not politically savvy, you easily can become a victim of politics. Anytime is the right season for getting at the truth in politics. 


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