How Do You Like Your Truth?

Political ads today – be afraid, or be angry, but above all: Don’t Think!

By Lee Karl Palo

© 2012 Lee Karl Palo

Disclaimer: The following represents the opinion of Lee Karl Palo, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cokesbury or the United Methodist Publishing House.

First, I should clarify what I mean by “truth.”

At the risk of equivocation (equivocation = getting your definitions mixed up): what is truth? Is it the opposite of false? Is it a description of fact? Is it an expression of the nature of reality? Is it all of the above?

Well…

Yes.

I suppose that doesn’t help much if you want a nice, neat definition of truth, but bear with me.

…Truth is messy.

We have just come through a difficult time recently with the 2012 elections. Most of us have a perspective on politics that we are attached to.

…And for many of us it doesn’t end with just politics. Religion, Science, Spirituality, Philosophy, Culture… and so on. …etcetera. For the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on politics here.

Why is election season difficult?

The volume of negative ads I get in the mail has just dramatically decreased. Prior to election day, when I got the mail, I would just pitch them immediately into the recycle bin. I didn’t want to expend mental energy in thinking through the negativity to discern if there was any actual valid claim being made.

Responsible voting is a chore!

Those I could talk to about politics, I did. I also read the voter’s pamphlet. …and then I made my decisions when I filled out the ballot. Some of them were difficult decisions, and I’m not always sure I made the right decisions.

Thank God it’s over!

On Facebook, the day after the election, there was much rejoicing on all sides that the campaigning was over. What is the reason for the rejoicing?

Let me tell you a secret!

Each political party wants you to vote for their candidates. Political parties don’t exclusively campaign on what their candidates believe, they campaign on what their opponents believe. Since a vote is an either/or proposition, there is no room for indecision. There is a psychological means by which you can manipulate people into picking a side. You get people to have a strong emotional reaction against something. The more fear and anger is involved, the better. Fear and anger generate a “fight or flight” response. The “fight or flight” condition is designed to force an action. When a person is in a “fight or flight” condition, they have a very strong tendency to think only in black or white terms. There is no gray. That is called “splitting.”

The next time you get really angry or fearful of someone, see how often your thoughts get stuck on worst-case scenarios. …That is splitting!

So if they can get you angry or fearful of the other side, they have you! The many months leading up to the election can be exhausting mentally, because those campaigning are trying to circumvent your rational thinking in order to get you to a visceral reaction against the representatives of the other party.

I’m afraid this “fight or flight” campaigning has been going on for so long that there isn’t much emphasis on compromise, on moderation, on the gray areas—on RATIONAL THOUGHT!

Now, in terms of politics, we have a time of mental rest and relaxation before the next big election. …and that is worth a little rejoicing!

…but…

This is what truth has so often come to today: propaganda designed to manipulate you!

How do you like your Truth now?

********************************************************

© 2012 Lee Karl Palo

leekarlpalo@gmail.com

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One Response to How Do You Like Your Truth?

  1. cloakedmonk says:

    I was close to voting for whoever didn’t make an advertisement that said, “tax. spend. regulate. that’s the agenda of “insert name here.” or “supported by corporate interests, “insert name here” will sacrifice your children in favor of big oil.” Ugh. I saw both ads for people I know and love (two different people). Ridiculous.

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