POLITICAL FINE PRINT: In This Election, There Are No Returns
Imagine this, you walk past a sneaker store that has a sign in the window reading "Sale Today on Jordans: Buy One Get One Free," and you just so happened to have some money to spend on new shoes. This is your lucky day! So, you run in and grab a black and red pair, and a pair of Carolina Blue as well. You proudly march up to the counter and wait in line.
You snap some pics of your new sneaks for your Instagram and Tumblr. Text your friends at the job and laugh at how they can't get off work to come get the good ones before they're all gone. And after you've Tweeted and Facebooked your fortunate find to the rest of the world who didn't already know, you find yourself up at the counter, handing over your credit card to the lady. You're standing there at the checkout, daydreaming and imagining how good the shoes will look when you wear them to an event later in the week, and after scribbling your name really quickly on the receipt, you run out of the store and rush home.
The next day at lunch, while attempting to charge a cheeseburger off the dollar menu, you find that your card is declined. Deciding that there must be a mistake, you get a dollar out of your pocket and grab your phone. Upon checking your balance, you discover that your credit card is over the limit. But you can't imagine how that could be. So, you rush by your house, really quickly, on your way back to the job to check your receipts from the last few days, and you find the receipt for the shoes. They charged you $450.00 for both pairs of sneakers. Furious, you grab both boxes and head back to the job. You'll take the shoes back after work.
The rest of the day seems to move in slow motion, until you find yourself back at the counter demanding they fix the problem with the charges to your card. You remind Stacy, the same lady who checked you out yesterday that the sign said "Buy One Get One," and she smiles. To your horror, Stacy tells you "that what they meant was 'If you buy a shoe, you will get the other shoe with it." Disgusted, you remind Stacy that you never heard her say how much it was going to be, or you would never have paid that much in the first place. Stacy reminds you that she did, in fact, tell you, but that you were zoned out staring off into space, mumbling about how many people would like them on Instagram. And, that you willingly handed her your credit card after she told you the price. Enraged, you demand your money back, but Stacy points to a sign behind her, and one on your receipt that says very clearly, "All Sales Final."
You just got got. But whose fault is it really? Is it what the sign said, or was it the way they said it? You didn't ask any questions, you didn't pay attention at the counter, and you didn't investigate the policies of the store before you bought in to what they were selling. So, I'll ask you again, whose fault is it?
After watching the Republican National Convention last week, and hearing the GOP tell lie, after lie after fact-checkable lie. Then reading (per James Bennet of The Atlantic) that a Romney campaign worker, Neil Newhouse, told the press when questioned about the misleading welfare to work ad that the Romney campaign was running, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," I knew that it was going to be more important now than ever, to report on the facts.
I saw that what used to be speeches accentuated with mere political distortion, had morphed into a festival of Pinocchio-like tale-telling, and the RNC must have known and condoned the words of untruth spewing from the podium. So while Governors, Congressmen, and Senators were speaking, they were knowingly misinforming the electorate. They spoke on values and citizenship, all the the while, weaving webs of deception at best and pandering to those at home who already suffer from delusions of grandeur at worst. Black Widow Spider behavior indeed, as they are setting up a trap for the good intentions and believers of their own kind.
So, what lies am I referring to? The convention's theme - “you built that” - itself was based off of a distortion of the words that President Obama spoke, regarding the idea that we all built this nation together, and it doesn't belong to one group or another but to all of us. The Romney campaign chopped up that speech and took what they wanted, in order to make it appear as though the President had slandered small business owners. It simply isn't true and the Romney Camp and all of the RNC speakers know it. The strategy seemed to be if we lie, and repeat that lie often and enough, eventually in voters minds it will be true. But not so fast.
Independent fact checkers are now working overtime to debunk lies and stories from both sides of the coin when it comes to the 2012 campaigns. One thing seems to be true in all of their checking - a healthy portion of what is being said by the Republican machine is simply and recklessly untrue. Pandering to those who fear the unknown is an ugly business. And, the RNC is hoping beyond hope that voters will stay lazy and not try to find out if their claims are even close to what the RNC is reporting them to be.
So why should you care?
You should care because if anyone is going this far out of their way to report erroneous information to you, to set agendas that are based on false propositions, and furthermore, to work this hard to suppress your right to accept or reject what they are selling to you, then it should be a four-star alarm for you. It should make you sit on the edge of your seat when they speak. Whether you believe them or not, whether you support them or not, whether you are even in danger of voting for them or not, listening to what they have to say, and when they say it is crucial.
You can win on the facts, but if you make uninformed decisions based on the lack of them, you fail and fail big. There are people in this nation in very high positions of power, that are literally banking on you doing just that. They want you to remain unquestioning, because the less you know, the more they can feed you. People are already demonstrating this to you in the current election. The Republican Vice Presidential candidate has just been dubbed "Lyin Ryan". What does that tell you?
It tells me, it's time to wake up, shake the cobwebs off, and pay close attention. Otherwise, we are going to fulfill the wishes of those who need us to be incurious to get over. You wouldn't stand for it in the store, so don't stand for it for it with this either, because the chances of you being sold something you didn't really want or need are too great, to get caught not paying attention, buy the shoes you want, but make sure you get them at a price you're willing to pay.
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Jordans Photo Credit: NIKE/Air Jordan