This year’s election cycle is OFF THE HOOK!! Like me, I’m sure all of you can see how emotionally and politically charged the candidate choices are among both parties. Hopefully I can help break some things down for you in a non-partisan way and convince you to follow my advice on how to select the best candidate. Oddly enough, I have NEVER been political in any way in the past. However, since my disability, I spend more time in front of the TV and computer and am more exposed than ever before.
The absolute most important thing to keep in mind is that social media is bigger today and more people are connected than ever before in history. This means that individual opinions, as well as those of the candidates, are spread that much faster and further than was ever before possible. However, this causes one very severe problem in today’s world for each one of us. We have become conditioned to draw our opinions from what we see and hear on the internet. Sadly, there are far too many people who are so passionate about their opinions that they create biased media to publish on the internet. This was the major reason that sites such as snopes.com have become so popular – to debunk short videos, emails, facebook posts, etc. and ensure you know the truth. For those reading this, I highly doubt that there has not been at least one article or tidbit of information you’ve heard and believed, only to have it debunked by Snopes or a similar website.
Worse yet, this election year, the candidates themselves have learned how to exploit our natural tendency to rely on the internet for our information. And you won’t find many Snopes-style website to debunk these type of items because nobody likes to argue politics – it’s a losing game ultimately. Besides, the opposing candidate and their supporter will attempt to debunk those false narratives . . . . and usually respond with a false narrative of their own!!! All too often – honestly, I would estimate about 95% of the time – the candidate or their supporter takes a partial clip of their opponent and spins it to their own benefit. And, because the world is so connected these days, that false narrative gets spread around and seen/heard by more people than ever before. So much so that even when the wronged candidate comes out and says, “I never said or did that.”, our only response is “But we saw it ourselves!”. Video clips of only a few words, taken out of context, or used as a response to a whole different topic are the norm and are clearly effective in shaping our views of the world and our candidates.
If you are one of those people that say you are unaffected by this and that it can’t make the differences that I’m talking about, you are wearing blinders. If I say something negative about you, your response can be a simple, “Who cares what McCoy says?!” – and you’re right. But if I spread that negative narrative to everyone you know, along with a video of you ADMITTING to what I have suggested, do you honestly believe that nobody cares anymore? Seriously, it is far too easy for any amatuer to take two interview videos and create their own video clip of an interviewer asking a candidate, “What do you and your group hope to accomplish by, as you put it, ‘wipe Israel off the map’?” and the clip shows that candidate responding, “We’re going to make America great again!” The bottom line is DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE/HEAR ON SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY. Sadly, this advice must even be utilized when watching the local/global news. The news media is all too happy to take one sentence (whether relative or in-context or not) and grill a candidate about it incessantly. There is no way of denying it was said when they produce video/audio clips and the candidate usually has to fumble to justify their words.
SO HOW DO YOU GUARANTEE YOU’RE GETTING ACCURATE INFORMATION? The answer is really simple, but you have to be willing to ignore what you read/hear on the internet and on the TV. I learned early in life that nobody can tell me how to pick my friends. I don’t listen to rumors or gossip – I’ll believe something about someone only when THAT person tells me it is actually true! That is exactly what YOU must do if you want to make sure you are supporting the right candidate. DO NOT believe what you hear from other people, Facebook, the media, YouTube, etc. If you TRULY want to know what a candidate is about and what they stand for, you MUST listen to that candidate personally. That means attend their rallies, listen to entire interviews with them, watch the entire debate, and watch televised town halls with the candidates. And MOST IMPORTANTLY, listen to those you do NOT support MORE than those you do support!! If you dislike a candidate so much that you’re unwilling to listen to them talk for themselves, then you have already developed an opinion through rumors and gossip and – I hate to say it – you WILL be supporting the wrong candidate. If you refuse to listen to a candidate because they are in a party that you do not support, then – again – you WILL be supporting the wrong candidate.
And, finally, if despite everything I have said in this article, you refuse to listen to other candidates or even your OWN candidate, then please consider the following: No matter who you talk to among my friends, neighbors, etc you will hear that I am a “sweet, kind, wonderful, funny, . . . person”. To hear them tell it, I’m the perfect catch for a husband – and yet I can’t even get a date nowadays!!! LOL. Even still, I hope that you will get to know me before you draw an opinion of me and not allow others’ opinions to form your own. I have listened to all the candidates individually and I can assure you that only about 10% of the things you hear on the news are actually true about the candidates. Clinton is NOT an abusive parent/spouse and she really DOES know her foreign affairs policies, Sanders really IS an American supporter and NOT out to overthrow our financial system, Trump is truly NOT a racist or woman-hater and he DOES want to earn respect, not hatred, from our global neighbors. Cruz really DOES believe in the Bible and he is NOT out to eliminate Democrats from future presidential eligibility. Kasich really does NOT believe that all American companies should be moved out of the country and he really DOES realize he can’t make the necessary delegates to win a presidential nomination.