• Luis Rueda

Toward a Well Informed Electorate - 1

"An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people." Thomas Jefferson.

I agree with that quote. A well-informed electorate makes better decisions, improves our national dialogue, and helps to lead to better outcomes. The problem here is that Jefferson never said that. The statement is in keeping with what he believed and paraphrases his views on education, but, according to the Monticello organization, the people who operate Jefferson's home, he never made that statement. They researched his papers and multiple other documents and found that he never said that. The first time this misattribution appeared was in 2013. This misquote is an example of a very real, and serious problem this nation faces: a flood of misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies.

Every day we are met by a firehose of bullshit, designed to manipulate us into believing one thing or another, to vote one way or another. None of it is designed to inform us or educate us, nor to better prepare us to make smart decisions in the voting booth. On the contrary, all this misinformation is designed to keep us in the dark, keep us stupid. It preys on our fears and anger. The misinformation tries to push us in one direction or another by scaring the crap out of us. To the people peddling misinformation, a well-informed electorate is their enemy.

The danger with this strategy of misinformation is that it slowly destroys the nation. Who would go to a doctor whose actions were based on misinformation? Would you go to a doctor that believed in medieval medical theories, like disease comes from ill humors and bleeding a patient is the best remedy? That is what the stream of misinformation is leading us to: a populace that is filled with misinformation and thus will make poor decisions when voting, a populace that is divided and fearful, at each other's throats.

Let us start with the constant accusations of communism and socialism for just about anything we disagree with. Here is the actual definition of communism:

Communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state. Communism is a specific, yet distinct, form of socialism. Communists agree on the withering away of the state but disagree on the means to this end.

And socialism:

Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production and democratic control, such as workers' self-management of enterprises. It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public, collective, cooperative, or of equity. While no single definition encapsulates the many types of socialism, social ownership is the one common element.

As you can see, wearing a mask or being asked to get a vaccine is not communism or socialism. It isn't even putting us on the road to communism. The accusation of communism is meant to frighten you, to support one side over the other because if you don't, we will be living in the Soviet Union. That is plain bullshit. Do you know what the communists would do when faced with a problem like a pandemic? Their first reaction would be to deny there is a problem. Communists hate to be confronted by problems. It reflects poorly on the communist "paradise" they have established and calls into question all the lies they have been telling. The next step they would take would be to inform the people that everything is fine, everything is under control. As the pandemic spreads, the communist government would start falsifying information in order to show that they had everything under control. Any of this sound familiar? The last thing they would do would be to make people wear masks and get vaccinated because that would be an admission that the system had failed.

Do you know what else was labeled communist and socialist in the past? Child labor laws. And the 40-hour workweek. And paid vacation and sick leave. And a minimum wage. As well as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Pensions and retirement plans were, at times, called communism and socialism. But they were not. And none of these things led to communism.

If you have a problem wearing a mask or being vaccinated, it is your right to voice your opinions, to peacefully assemble and protest those requirements. Just as those who support mask and vaccine mandates can voice their opinions in favor of them. But don't lie and claim this is some type of communism or assertion of dictatorial power. Use sound arguments. Use facts. Do not demonize the other side. The people who are leading you to do this. Politicians, the media, they are manipulating you. They are politicizing a public health issue for their own personal gains. They have no respect for you and believe you will swallow whatever lies they tell you, no matter how egregious. They want you to be ignorant because it makes it easier for them. They don't have to actually produce policies that benefit the country. All they need to do is scare you.

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