Election Perception

Election Perception

I suspect that over the years I have made the idea “that perception is more powerful than truth” the point of a great many sermons. I believe it I can make it again in these weeks leading up to the elections. Much of what we see on television, hear on the radio and read on the internet is based on the perception of the person(s) who we are relying on for information and not necessarily on facts. It is not my place to suggest for whom anyone should vote. That is a very personal decision each of us needs to arrive at as best we can. I can suggest some thoughts and basic guidelines on how we reach our decision.

Candidates for office do not always tell the “truth” exactly. Exaggeration, innuendo and allusion often skew the facts to provide a better “spin” on the truth. Those who produce the news have become more interested in commentary than on reporting facts. We hear about the “liberal news media” and the “right wing news organizations” all the time as each side casts doubts and dispersion on the other. The internet has become a place where we avoid either of those choices, but then are confronted by wholly undocumented and unverifiable articles written by anyone who has a computer and internet access. All this provides for an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion. Add to that the amount of disinformation deliberately provided by lobbyists, PACs and other “interested parties” and what we have is elections based on feelings, not on positions or programs to strengthen the country.

So, here are a couple of my thoughts:

  • Look at two or more diverse news outlets.
  • Don’t believe everything you see or hear on the internet (check it out at one of these independent sources: snopes.com or truthorfiction.com or factcheck.org).
  • Avoid websites which seem to use fear and hate as motivators, rather than rational statements and content oriented material.
  • Be careful reposting articles on your facebook page that use vitriolic or accusatory language as it reflects on you.
  • Try to focus on significant issues which face the country and be aware of people using smokescreens, mirrors and misdirection to keep you from considering them.
  • Ask yourself if what you see or hear sounds like actual facts or is meant to lead you to a certain perspective and away from the truth.
  • There is no reason to hate any candidate or office holder; that serves the interests of no one and is not grounds for voting against someone who may be the better candidate.

Now, just seven weeks until the distractions of elections are in the past!