Voter Beware

Caveat emptor: that is one of the few, perhaps the only, Latin phrase I know. It means buyer beware. I learned that in the late sixties in a high school Business law course. Come to think of it, that is one of the few things I still consider valuable from high school. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I was my high school’s first three year graduate – I found high school to be mostly a waste of my time. Enough of my personal rant; let’s tie this into politics.

Like caveat emptor I wasn’t smart enough to coin the currently politically popular phrase zombie lies; I just appropriated it. Zombie lies are the right wing mythology that despite being repeatedly debunked just won’t die. The problem is (as the Nazis discovered) if you repeat a lie often enough a substantial portion of the people come to accept it as the truth. I distinctly remember attending a county commission meeting where a lady who in the past had repeatedly proven her IQ to be only slightly north of room temperature (the building was air conditioned) made some outrageous statement of “fact” to the Commission. All seven commissioners (almost equally distributed between the two political parties) exchanged incredulous looks. The Chairman told the lady there was no truth to what she was asserting. Her reply was, “Well, that’s what I heard.”

Too many candidates are simply salespersons and in the worst sense of the word. They are only concerned with getting elected and consider the truth an inconvenience.

When it comes to voting I think we should translate caveat emptor as voter beware. Effectively you are buying the services of one candidate over the other(s). Not different than purchasing an automobile or hiring an applicant. The onus is on the voter to make an informed choice and beware of false sales pitches. That is easier said than done in modern America where the majority of voters live busy lives full of role conflict and too little spare time.

The Washington Post and the Tampa Bay Times have the two most widely respected fact checking teams in America. Both are available online. Scanning the Washington Post is part of my morning routine.

Take all commercials, ads and flyers with a grain of salt (sometimes the entire shaker).

Avoid widely discredited sources like The Drudge Report, Breitbart News, Fox News, The Blaze, Alex Jones and World Net Daily. Are they occasionally correct? Remember, a stopped clock shows the correct time twice a day but you wouldn’t run your schedule by it.

Relying on your crazy uncle or the zany neighbor down the street are equal wastes of time.

Just because you heard something, (and often multiple times), doesn’t make it true. Look at who paid for the ad. If it is an industry group like The American Petroleum Institute they have an agenda; and that agenda has nothing to do with your or your family’s best interests. The NRA has become the lobbying arm of gun manufactures. Their sole purpose is to convince you to buy more guns. A patriotic, common sense sounding group like Americans for Prosperity has no more credibility than a snake oil salesman. They are the political action arm of the Koch brothers.

Once every two years (yes those midterm elections and lower ballot offices are crucially important!) Americans are asked to vote. I’m sorry but you need to find the time to do some homework before you cast your ballot.

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