Whether you are watching the Democratic primaries and cheering for Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg or Biden, or you are anxiously awaiting President Trump’s reelection, it’s important to remember that politicians are just as human as the rest of us, and therefore, far from perfect.

The American political system is as divisive as it has ever been, and while certain politicians have discovered that it is more effective to make outlandish and exaggerated claims than it is to discuss things rationally and consider scientific facts and studies, a large part of this divide rests on our shoulders as the American electorate.

It’s certainly harmful to the American people and our democratic process for politicians to actively engage in misinformation and propaganda, but as informed voters, it is our job to hold these politicians accountable for their actions instead of rewarding them with our votes for their behavior.

In a sane society, a politician caught in a lie who refuses to apologize or correct themselves would be removed from office, either immediately or when they were up for reelection. Instead, we the people seem to prefer lies that support our own beliefs rather than truth that would make us reevaluate our philosophies.

And, rest assured, there are few if any, politicians alive that haven’t stretched the truth to their benefit.

Whoever you believe has earned your vote for the 2020 presidential race, think about their views, the supposed facts that support those views, and spend some time trying to check those claims.

Chances are, if you don’t discover outright lies, you will find at least a few exaggerations. It’s far past time for the American people to hold our leaders accountable in every way possible — to do otherwise is to actively and purposely damage our great nation.

When the public supports a politician blindly and dogmatically, with little to no regard for the truth, the outcome can be absolutely disastrous. We have given permission to the person who holds the most powerful political office in the world to do whatever they wish without consequence. No human deserves that power, no matter where they sit on the political spectrum.

What’s worse is, through executive orders, the Presidency has only grown in power, often ignoring the checks and balances that were so crucially built into the United States Constitution. It seems unlikely that any future president will use their power to diminish their own office, so Americans need to show more restraint and diligence when choosing who deserves to sit in the Oval Office.

If you don’t find yourself disagreeing with or at least questioning the politician of your choice, you’re only doing yourself and the rest of your country a disservice by buying into their propaganda.

In fairness, propaganda is appealing — it makes us feel good about our own beliefs, reinforces what we believe we already know, and gives us the sense that we are on the right side. But it is this dynamic that makes misinformation so dangerous — it only serves to entrench us even more into our own beliefs, securing our votes for a particular political party, and ensuring our leaders don’t need to value facts as long as they repeat the talking points that get us to vote for them.

America deserves better from our leaders – national, state and local. Wake up, stay informed, and consume all of your information with a grain of salt. If you don’t believe something, try to confirm it is false, but more importantly, if you do believe it, try to prove yourself wrong.

Our future is at stake.

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