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Spin, Smears, Lies, Hearsay

I had hoped to make it to the May 29th primary without having to address the issue of campaign gossip, but there are too many unsubstantiated rumors, spin, smears, and lies filling up my inbox from Smith County and beyond to let this go.

One of the most important things we will ever do as an organization is to vet candidates. We take this very seriously because our credibility and reputation are on the line. Most importantly, the direction of our community, state, and nation is in the balance. We simply cannot afford to elect the wrong people to office.

During my 20 years as a constitutional conservative activist, I have encountered the most ridiculous, shallow, and silly reasons people say they vote for a candidate. Some of the worst are:  “he’s handsome; she’s easy on the eyes; I like his tone of voice; he’s my friend; I play golf with him; I’ve known his Daddy/Momma for 40 years.” Say what???

Some people make their voting decisions based on:  the latest polls, who has the most campaign signs, the most money, a snappy radio ad, a clever television commercial, a campaign flier, a list of “the who’s who” in the community who sign on to a big newspaper ad, or which incumbents endorse a newcomer. In this age of social media, we now have candidates touting how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers they have! Say what???  

Unfortunately, some people make a decision based on unsubstantiated gossip and rumors. Even worse, some will pick up a rumor, smear, or lie and spread it with no thought of whether or not what they’ve been told or fed is even true. This is irresponsible, reckless, and unbecoming of patriots. It is also a violation of the Commandment:  “Though shalt not bear false witness against a neighbor.” This is not a mere suggestion. Trashing a person’s reputation is no small thing. We simply should never come close to being guilty of such conduct. 

Friends, let us not be swayed by shallow feelings driven by mere psychological tools. Let us not act as if we are “sheeples.” Let us not be guilty of bearing false witness against a neighbor. Let us diligently seek the truth in a forthright, focused, sober, and judicious manner. If it is statesmen we desire to represent us, let us be statesmen ourselves.

Grassroots America will soon continue the candidate forum process of vetting candidates. Forums are but one tool we use to vet candidates as thoroughly as possible. We seek an intellectually honest conclusion – not a hasty one based on emotion, spin, smears, lies, or psychological manipulation. We won’t make everybody happy, but that is not our mission.

A word of warning:  if we receive information about an officeholder or a candidate not backed up with sourced proof, don’t expect us to believe it or take action on it. The same holds true with anonymous sources. Anyone can say anything about anybody – especially during a campaign. If you aren’t willing to provide evidence to back up what you say, or provide your name so that you can be questioned about the information you send us, then we will view the information as hearsay. Hearsay evidence is generally not allowed in a court of law for a very good reason, and we, frankly, have no time for it.

JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director (volunteer), Grassroots America – We the People

 (903) 894-7204 home office or (903) 360-2858 cell

“If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing.”

Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Sir Winston Churchill