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Scary Midterm Thoughts

As a member of the core team of verbatim bloggers, I’ve been asked to develop fun content that makes you laugh/smile/think on a Friday. While we had a great Halloween event with Communispace families this week (there are more pictures on our Facebook fan page), I hope you’ll allow me to be un-fun this week. Why? Because I’m scared. No, it’s not the Halloween costumes. It’s the midterm elections. This post isn’t about a particular party or candidate, but rather the whole political scene.

Maybe some context might help. Recently, I was driving to work listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” when I heard a report from PolitiFact.com that found that this year’s campaign ads rate a “Barely True.”

These findings crossed party lines and PolitiFact reported, “In a majority of claims checked this fall by PolitiFact and our eight state partners, we found a grain of truth, but it was exaggerated, twisted or distorted.” (Keeping an eye on ads, PolitiFact researchers look into claims being made and rate them on the following scale: “True” – “Mostly True” – “Half True” – “Barely True” – “False” – “Pants on Fire”.)

I find this incredibly disconcerting. I know that negative campaigning has been around for decades, but my sense is that most of the time, past campaign ads have been at least “Mostly True.” This campaign season sees us at the average of PolitiFact’s scale, at “Barely True,” which begs the question: What are we supposed to believe and how do we differentiate fact from fiction?

I find it funny (ok, not at all) that the same politicians who enact laws to protect consumers from false product/corporate advertising are the ones putting “barely true” ads out on the airwaves. Some say, “Elisa, that’s just politics.” That’s nice, but as voters, we deserve better.

So this weekend, enjoy the Halloween festivities. But also, please take the time to educate yourself on the issues at hand – because “barely true” doesn’t cut it – and please VOTE on Tuesday.

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