I once had dinner with a Hollywood producer who was the friend of a friend who was an actor. Being fascinated by all kinds of businesses, I asked questions about how the movie business really worked and how it differed from other business. He quickly answered that, in other businesses, when people lie to you, they are lying to you. But when caught in a lie in Hollywood, the liar is surprised that you are offended. According to them, they are not lying; they are just “bullshitting you.”
It seems that some politicians want to use this same logic with their TV commercials. They want to tell half-truths and just plain lies. They use the excuse that “well that is how it’s done. I won’t get elected if I do not go negative (lie). After the election, you can trust me to be honest.”
Maya Angelou, one of the Americans whom I most admire, said, “When people tell you who they are believe them.” When politicians run adds that are not true, believe them about what this says about their character more than the attack on their opponent. Now don’t get me wrong, some politicians are awful people and deserved to be called out, but that is different from lying in your ads.
I am grateful to every person who has the courage to put their name on a ballot come election time. But just because someone chooses to run, does not mean that they deserve your vote. Look at their past deeds, what have they accomplished. Look at their words—what have they said about other people and themselves when they thought no one was looking. Look at their character. Would you really trust this person with your four-year-old? Your mother? Your medicine cabinet?
The behavior of candidates, politicians, and their party bosses has caused a lot of us to become jaded on public service or to believe that the system is rigged driving us from participating in the greatest democracy in the world. In the next few weeks, the future of our communities, state, nation, and indeed the world will be decided by how we vote.
Please do not let those who are just bullshitting you steal your joy and your rights to participate in rewarding the good men and women who have earned our admiration and your vote.