We need to shop for real fruit when we shop for candidates.

By Ashley Bean Thornton

So…I watched the State of the Union the other night, and predictably for those who know me, I thought Mr. Biden did a great job!

The next day I got my weekly email from my current Representative in the U.S. House, Mr. Pete Sessions.  It started this way… “Last night, President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union address. For the past three years, the President and his Administration have been focused on implementing failed far-left border, economic, and foreign policies, which have turned every community into a border community, destroyed the savings of countless American families, and needlessly put American service members in harms way.”

If I am honest with myself…I can’t really say for sure whether these statements from Mr. Sessions are true (true-ish?) or false (false-ish?).

What does it mean to say that “every community is a border community” now?  And how do we know whether that is true or not?  I don’t “feel” like Waco is a “border community” whatever that might feel like/be like, but I don’t know about other places.

How would we know if “the savings of countless American families” have been destroyed?  How would you even go about figuring that out?  Did all these American families have much in savings to start with?  Mightn’t that be more connected to the effects of the pandemic than to bad policy on Mr. Biden’s part. Mightn’t it also be true that countless American families were able to make it through the pandemic because of the help they got from the government?  Mightn’t the solution be better employment opportunities and higher pay – which seem to be what we are getting now as the result of Mr. Biden’s work, and that of others, and probably more than anything the regular ebb and flow of the economy?

In what ways have American service members been put in harm’s way in the last 3 years?  How do we judge whether it was “needless” or not.

How can a normal citizen, or even a slightly above average citizen, like I’m sure we all consider ourselves to be, go about assessing these statements?

It would help if Mr. Sessions had offered some evidence and explanation in his weekly email – but he did not. I imagine he (or whoever is writing his newsletter) figures no one wants to/has time to read all that. And he’s probably at least mostly right about that. Probably the number of people who read his weekly email at all is pretty small.

I’m feeling like it would be a full-time job and then some to track down the truth behind these kinds of statements.  So how do we make our decisions about who will get our precious votes?

One of the things I’m going to look for in a candidate is whether or not they offer at least a little explanation and evidence for their statements.  I probably need to go back and listen to the state of the union and see if it passed this test since I know that I am – like all of us – more likely to give my own politicians a “pass” while being critical of politicians I don’t like.

I know providing a little more information might make political speeches and newsletters and social media posts less catchy and less likely to “go viral” – but I’m OK with that. I have time to read or listen to a couple of extra sentences of explanation and evidence.  I feel like it is part of their job to give that to me if they want to earn my vote. I DON’T have time to chase down every cleverly crafted and focus-group-tested phrase (“every community is a border community” feels like that to me) that their multi-million-dollar marketing machinery pumps out.

They are feeding us the fruit roll-up version of information when we need at least a little real fruit. They feed us that because that is what we buy.  If we keep buying it when we know it is bad for us – that’s our own fault.

1 Comment

  1. Mary Mann on March 9, 2024 at 8:09 am

    Another very good one! On point, Ashley.

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