The 2024 elections will be a choice between truth and lies ⋆

The greatest choice voters will have to make during the 2024 presidential election is whether to stand for truth or go along with the lies.

But how can voters discern and distinguish truth from lies, facts from fiction?

It seems truth and facts have become expendable commodities in the public square.

We must wonder whether we are guided by a strong moral compass as a nation. But, it also begs the question whether we have also thrown the importance of truth to the curbside.

How do we square and act on the lies and misrepresentations political candidates knowingly tell us?

That is tantamount to what we do when we accept politicians — no matter who they are or their party affiliation — telling us lies about what we know to be true or have seen with our own eyes.

Sadly, this growing acceptance of lies in place of facts is encroaching in many areas of our daily lives, not just politics.

Think about the contrived and false issues that have surfaced and taken center stage during the last few years: From the perpetual false claim that elections were stolen to the myriad lies about vaccine safety to the obsession that there is a woke culture that needs to be killed.

We spend so much time fighting imaginary ghosts. But those imaginary ghosts have taken on a life of their own and are wreaking havoc and controlling how we perceive and relate to each other.

These lies have caused a divisive chasm among us unlike any we have seen in recent history. How did we get here?

It is a question that every American needs to ask.

We must examine the forces that have gotten us here — both the personalities and practices that have captured our imagination.

We must look at the political leaders that capitalize on anger and fear, and who are perfectly comfortable embracing, saying and doing things to fuel and encourage  unethical and illegal behavior.

These leaders are comfortable and confident that incendiary statements and speeches, if not accepted, will be at least tolerated, so they carry on in advancing their destructive agenda.

But what other powerful forces have made us vulnerable to being prime targets and easy prey to peddlers of lies and false narratives?

We are voracious consumers of social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter) and others. Many of us use them as our primary sources of news and information.

Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Too often we are unaware of the manipulation, photo-shopped images and narrative created that only contain a modicum or no truth or facts at all. As unsuspecting consumers, we become easy prey to be influenced by what we read, see or hear on social medial platforms.

Then there are those supposedly trusted personalities that peddle in disinformation or misinformation, whether on podcasts, talk shows or programs parading as legitimate news sources.

What about the looming threat and growing use of artificial intelligence? It is already being used in political campaigns to present opponents in a false light. It is expected to be a part of this election cycle in ways that may not be easily detected nor disclosed.

But we need not stand by and become helpless victims.

The acclaimed Black poet and author Maya Angelou said something profound yet simple: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

In this environment of leaders using lies to advance their positions, we must take the time to examine their public records, and their qualifications.  We must use multiple sources of validation.

Angelou also said something equally important: “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it.”

Did you know some of her books have been banned because of the ill-conceived ”anti-woke culture” movement?

There are so many areas that if we embraced truth and facts could not only set us free, but be the force to guide us to greater things. As this defining political season unfolds, the last thing we can afford is to not pay close attention to all the voices vying for our attention and trust.

Ultimately, who we desire to align ourselves with and whose hands we trust with our future is not a decision that we can take as political business as usual.

It is not.

Are we reaching a point where we need to apply a Truth-O-Meter to everything we hear and read from those vying for our trust and support?

We may not have the capacity to apply a Truth-o-Meter to all the information being thrown at us on a daily basis. But at least we can avoid the costly price for not paying attention.

If we don’t pay attention, we may find ourselves in a worse place beyond what we ever imagined.

We can diligently seek out truth, and act upon it accordingly.

Missouri Independent is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Missouri Independent maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jason Hancock for questions: [email protected]. Follow Missouri Independent on Facebook and Twitter.



authored by Janice Ellis
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2024%2F02%2F07%2Fthe-2024-elections-will-be-a-choice-between-truth-and-lies%2F

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