Opinion: Americans Make Their Decisions Based on Incorrect Information

Walter Rhein

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Today is election day. It’s scary to think how many Americans will go out and vote based on what they’ve heard in political ads. In modern society, too many Americans get their information from digital devices rather than reliable sources.

We probably all know somebody who spends all of his time staring at the tiny screen he carries around in his hand. He scrolls through social media. He sees hysterical information. He makes his decision on fear instead of reason. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation on social media.

Few people deny that America is very divided. A divided nation is a weak nation. It should be clear to every concerned citizen that we need to do something to make our society more respectful.

Driving around with huge banners or stickers that use vulgar or racist language to deride a political candidate isn’t a show of respect. Rioting at the Capitol is not a show of respect. Any use of violence is not a show of respect.

Perhaps the best thing Americans can do is try to make their decisions based on facts. Don’t just listen to political ads. Don’t just get your information on social media. Instead, go to fact-checking websites.

Unfortunately, Americans don’t like to read. Sometimes it feels like any form of education is regarded with suspicion. It seems to me that the people who have the discipline and the drive to get an education are the people we should respect and admire. Perhaps we should vote the same way educated people vote.

More than ever before, everybody has a chance to make their voice heard. They can post on social media. They can leave comments, threats, and hate speech. Everyone is making noise. Few people have anything reasonable to say.

It’s my impression that fear seems to drive a lot of behavior in the United States. People are afraid for the future, and they should be. It’s important to remember that everybody cares for the future of their children. Some of us want our children to inherit a planet that’s capable of sustaining life.

Political candidates from both sides of the aisle use fear to get you to vote for them. The problem is that some candidates use fear that’s based on fact, and some use fear that’s based on misinformation.

Every election is critical in the United States of America. Voting is our most sacred franchise. It’s scary to think of how many people will find election deniers on their ballots. The worst part is that it doesn’t feel like Americans recognize the danger of voting for people who deny election results.

Do you think candidates who deny election results are going to protect our right to vote? Denying election results is the opposite of protecting our votes. If a candidate does not respect that he or she lost an election, then they do not respect the will of the people.

Today, Americans will make a decision. Thankfully, the power to choose the direction of our country still rests in the hands of the public. I’m not sure that the Founding Fathers ever anticipated a general population that would willingly work to erode the power of free elections.

Your right to vote is on the ballot today. Make an informed choice. Make a good choice.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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