Your voting decisions in the presidential election on Nov. 3 will be important if you haven’t already voted in absentia.
I’m not endorsing any candidate, but I read some helpful information by Peter Adams, head of the education team at the News Literacy Project.
In part, what he suggests is to understand what the most important issues in this campaign are to you and then determine which policies and political candidates are best suited to address those concerns.
You may have to make a list of those important issues. My list includes a successful vaccine to control the virus and/or therapies to assist; a strong economy that provides employment, which in part means policies that will bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.; national health care available to everyone that allows private insurance options; a foreign policy that brings nations together to avoid wars and economic disturbances; and racial equity with freedoms and justice for all as provided by our Constitution.
Now let’s look at what Peter Adams suggests.
1) Keep an eye on your emotions. Be rational with the information you receive. Be sure there is credible evidence that backs up the information.
2) Don’t share information if you have only read the headline. Be skeptical of what you read.
3) Learn to spot misinformation patterns. Remember, elections inspire all kinds of rumors, hoaxes and misleading memes. You can spot misinformation by following fact-checking organizations.
4) Don’t fall for deepfakes or cheapfakes. We used to be able to trust what we saw with our own eyes. No more. Artificial intelligence is now capable of producing incredibly lifelike fabrications, whether it is images of people or videos.
5) Be skeptical, not cynical. With so much misinformation circulating, it’s tempting to give in to cynicism and confusion and to embrace the belief the other political party can’t be trusted and nothing you see online is credible. Therefore, there is no sense in paying attention to any of it.
If you see something fake, false or misleading, do something. Share it with fact-checkers and news outlets. Warn others with a comment or a reply. Post accurate information and report false content and malicious accounts when they violate platforms and community standards. Democracy requires nothing less.
I think Adams makes some important points as we prepare how we will vote in the coming election.
There are other important topics which need consideration. They are abortion, climate change, criminal justice, education, gun policies, immigration and appointing judges.
ON THE EDUCATION front we are seeing some families grouping to be able to hire a qualified teacher for their children. This is coming out of fear of the pandemic in situations where both parents work and must make a choice whether to send their kids to school or not. By eliminating day care, hiring a teacher or tutor may be able to make the numbers work.
FROM THE MAIL to TV ads, it’s clear that on Nov. 3 we have the presidential election along with a host of other political candidates seeking national and state positions. I’ve never seen so many requests for political assessments which seem to me are often just political donation requests.
Our newspapers are presenting Voters’ Guides and hope they are helpful in understanding the local candidates who will be on your respective ballots.
Keep the letters to the editor coming. Carefully write your opinions on the critical issues our country, state and local communities are facing. We have had to start charging a nominal fee for letters about political topics during election season, so that our editorial pages don’t become overrun with propaganda written by campaign staff and volunteers.
Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications.