Something About Nothing
by Julie Seedorf
© August 2018
published in the Albert Lea Tribune Sunday, August 12, 2018
The Dog Days of Summer was going to be the topic of my column this week until I saw “Reality Check” by Pat Kessler on WCCO television. The topic was an ad by Governor Candidate Tim Pawlenty where he claims he will stop undocumented immigrants from stealing millions from Minnesota. The ad claims Minnesota is wasting hundreds of millions giving free health care to people who are not eligible.
Now before you begin attacking me for being biased for one party over another I have said before, I vote for the candidate, not the party. Long, long ago I did vote for Tim Pawlenty, one time.
In “Reality Check” Kessler stated the 2016 non-partisan study by the office of the Minnesota Legislative Auditor which the ad is based on, is true and it is true that the office reviewed a sampling of thousands of Minnesota Medicaid and Minnesota Care files and found 30 percent of the participants may have been ineligible. Many did not qualify for the program for which they were enrolled and others were not eligible at all. The study is real but it is an exaggeration that undocumented immigrants are responsible. The audit does not say that. It cites immigration as a small fraction of the problem. The audit blames lack of oversight, poor training and lack of updated software for the problem. Undocumented workers are not the problem.
I suspect the ad is misleading because immigration is a hot button topic right now and we are quick to place blame on illegal immigrants because it riles people up and gets our attention when in reality the truth is somewhere in between. Don’t get me wrong I suspect both sides do this. It is up to us to sift through the information and find the truth and it can be hard to do with so many fake news sites and real news sites that do not give us both sides of the issue. Being informed is not easy. It is time-consuming and hard work.
I will admit to not making informed decisions on occasion in my voting in the past. I will admit to passing on news of Social Media sites that I take at face value not looking into the validity or the truth of what is being said. I will admit to not being the smartest bulb on the planet in many areas and politics may be one of them because I have not done my homework. But it is no longer acceptable for me to vote for someone because I think they are a nice person or they are a friend. I have done that in the past and voted blindly because I liked someone’s personality and what they are showing to the world.
Let’s face it we do not personally know the people we are voting for. We make assumptions based on what they look like and what they project in the public eye. It is easy to change our public persona and if we are a good pitchman or a persuasive person. It is even easier to sway opinion no matter what field we work in. We might actually be a vile person. Think of serial killers and how surprised people are to find out about their dark side when they have only known them as being a friendly neighbor or good guy or gal.
After listening to Pat Kessler I decided to do my own reality check on some social media posts that are being passed around on both the Republican and Democratic side of the coin. It was amazing what the facts were once they were found some actually on the Government website such as Social Security and the benefits for Welfare pages proving the posts to be false or half-truths. Again the truth was skewed and facts were somewhere in the middle. Both the conservative and the liberal websites skewed the truth. Only the websites which presented both sides of the issue were anywhere near the truth.
Because we are so quick to believe that which sides with our viewpoint, we may be passing along untruths to further an agenda which is not based on facts or truth. We point fingers at the other side and place blame which in many instances is unfair in its basis.
Primaries are coming up. I would urge each and every one on both sides of the spectrum to take the time to do your research and flush out the truth whether it agrees with your opinion or not. The truth is important. It is time we quit making decisions based on what is fed to us through the proliferation of advertising for each candidate which may only have half of the truth woven in the statements being made.
I believe we owe it to our country, to our children and to ourselves to quit the rhetoric, make informed decisions based on rational thinking and vote for candidates who represent honestly what they are spouting and hold them accountable to the truth. That is if we can find one who doesn’t skew the truth to make themselves look good. That in itself may be a frustrating journey. It seems candidates today think they can’t be honest to win an election.
Oh and by the way, here is another truth. Just because I am an author it doesn’t mean I am the smartest bulb in the planet when it comes to literary works either. Trivia friends this means you. There too I tend to only pay attention to books which fit my reading personality, light and fluffy. It is good I don’t have to vote on anything there