I have tried.
I have really tried this year.
There were three debates. Big Bird. Binders. Bayonets. Everywhere you go on the internest people are fighting about truth and fact checking and what’s right and what’s left. So today I when I finally dug my sample ballot out of the mailbox and decided that this was going to be the year that I was going to be an informed voter, I admit I caught a little bit of the madness myself.
I spent years trying to teach young adults what it means to be an informed consumer of information in this world. Check your sources: look critically at the information and measure the source’s reliability and credibility. Unfortunately, there is so much fractured information out there that this is difficult to do.
Let me give you an example:
I was trying to research the US Senatorial candidates for my district for this year. The two main opponents are Bob Corker (R, Incumbent) and Mark E. Clayton (D). I thought I knew enough about Corker from his record (he’s on the news a lot making general Republican waves in the Senate), so I thought I would check out Clayton. When I googled his name the third link down was to his page on Project VoteSmart, where a scary red-eyed picture greeted me. I thought the information there was a joke. It ranted about love of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton and his hatred for Lamar Alexander.
Has to be an unreliable source, right? Nope.
Amongst all the craziness that one can find when falling down this rabbit hole, I found a Conservapedia site, something I didn’t know existed, but I at first thought was unreliable, that said that Clayton was disowned by the Tennessee Democrats after he was voted in during the primary. Woops!
Apparently people were blaming it on dumb voters who just picked the first name at the top of the ballot (I’ve done this before). Another theory was that his name sounded a lot like 2 major league football players. Both sound like plausible answers, but the problem is, if this guy is so anti-Democrat, then why was he running on the Democratic Party’s ticket in the first place?
I couldn’t seem to find an answer, and the answers are too clear. Anyone can run, as long as they can come up with a plausible reason. Clayton was able to convince someone that he was enough of a Democrat for Tennessee, and voila! on the ticket. ;
My favorite little bit is Mark E. Clayton’s video, accepting the Democratic nomination. Please watch. It’s for your own good. The old west theme, the passing tractor trailers, Osama Bin Laden’s really not dead yet, it’s all there. Some of you may be reminded of a few years ago when a certain Basil Marceaux.com stood up on Channel 4 and stated his positions. Watch Mr. Clayton’s video.
Then take some time and actually do your own research on the candidates in your districts before Nov. 6.