Trust but Verify

Election Year Musings – Political Essay No. 3

I am a political and fiscal conservative. If you stopped reading there, then you NEED to read the rest of this essay.

Of course, I look forward to any information that reflects Conservative thinking. I am, however, a reader of all political offerings. In my opinion, that is the only way that I can make an intelligent decision on where I stand, politically.

I am, however, consistently disappointed by other, I suppose, well-meaning conservatives (and liberals) who publish statements, reports, and other assertions that appear to support their positions that are either not accurate or are distortions of the original premise.

Here is what I want: I want every bit of Conservative-Republican (and Liberal-Democratic) political information to be absolutely accurate—squeaky clean! If the accuracy or veracity of any statement cannot be verified, then (1) we certainly are not going to sway many thoughtful Independents nor convert thoughtful Liberals to our cause, or (2) we are recruiting individuals who can be sold on anything they want to believe regardless of the truth. (We have enough of this group on “both sides of the aisle.”)

Incidentally, this includes also “spin.” If we cannot support our position with the unvarnished truth, then we are no better than the opposition. (Somewhere in the background I hear Jack Nicholson’s voice saying, “You can’t handle the truth!” [A Few Good Men, 1992]. I know—I am an idealist.)

Whom do you Trust? . . . Me either!

Since much of this information is transmitted via blogs, email, etc., we also have a marvelous fact and truth checking tool—the Internet. Searching for facts is really quite simple. Use your favorite search engine and search for specific names (people or places), events (speeches, conference names, etc.) and/or dates. While no one online source can be trusted as absolutely accurate, there are typically multiple sources of information.

Too often the statements that are perpetuated begin with a real events and facts, but then recast (or twist) or take them out of context to advance a story that is inaccurate, misleading, or blatantly false.

I am perfectly comfortable with statements that begin with “In my opinion.” It is okay for anyone to offer personal interpretation of information, but it should be offered clearly as “opinion” rather than fact.

Unfortunately, almost everything we hear from politicians are opinions parading as facts.

There are no empirical data that supports the idea that a wall will prevent illegal aliens from entering the United States. There is no evidence that a Democratic-Liberal government can handle national financial issues any better that Conservatives. It is all a matter of “Who do you Trust?”

When your well informed best friend tells you something as fact (especially a repeatedly forwarded message)—trust (the good intentions) but verify (the facts).

And that is my opinion.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration.

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3 Responses to Trust but Verify

  1. GP Cox says:

    IMO – this year we have been given absolutely no choice at all.

  2. Axel Anaruk says:

    Well stated, Jeff. Wish my candidate was still running.

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