The moral responsibility of voters
Do not blindly trust anything or anyone, recognizing that the heart of man is deceitful above all things. (Jeremiah 17:9.)
We have been hearing about how fake news taints our elections for seven years: Republicans complain about how the constant attacks on Donald Trump since 2016 tainted 2020, and Democrats blamed Facebook and "Russian disinformation" for losing the 2016 election. Was either election stolen by denying voters the facts they needed to cast an informed vote?
I have a device in my pocket that allows me to access any information I want about candidates, policy, and history. I can see numerous documentaries or read sources from a wide variety of perspectives. Well over 80% of Americans have devices with the same capabilities. If I walk into the voting booth uninformed, with the vast information available to me by tapping my screen, I am the only one to blame.
Does this mean that lying (or misinformation) is OK? Absolutely not. Scripture is abundantly clear that lying is wicked, and that dishonesty is an abomination to the Lord. (See Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 12:22 and Proverbs 11:1.) Lying does a lot of damage - and not only to the person targeted by the lies. It sows distrust, destroys national unity and provokes anger and needless conflict. Liars are truly detestable people.
But the fact remains that we live in a time where we have more information available to us at the touch of a finger or the click of a mouse than at any time in human history. It is the responsibility of every voter to educate himself, and to separate fact from fiction, and honest disagreement from dishonest spin. There is never an excuse to believe and spread lies, especially when a lie can be easily debunked with a simple search.
So what can we do? While there is a lot of real, verifiable information for us to peruse, there are also a lot of lies. Here is one solution to clean up the misinformation in our elections: If you see an outrageous negative claim about a politician, do not share it, spread it or comment on it until you have done research to verify or debunk it. This is especially important when that politician is someone you oppose or dislike. If anything, you should be more skeptical of claims about the other side, recognizing your own bias colors your perspective.
We all need to do better, and we can all improve in the 2024 election. Do not blindly trust anything or anyone, recognizing that the heart of man is deceitful above all things. (Jeremiah 17:9.) Recognize your own bias and repent if you have helped spread misinformation. Always fact-check negative claims, especially as the claims get more outrageous and spectacular. You have no excuse to be ignorant of anything going into the next election. It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to be an informed voter.