In this election, all I really have to do is just get out there and tell the truth.
Being a truth teller goes hand in hand with another visionary ability: discernment. Being able to go below the surface and see beyond what’s obvious, distinguishing differences among options, reading character and motives—all are crucial to seeing what the truth really is.
In politics, as we all know, telling the truth is often not a priority, much less being discerning about what the truth really is. For us, as voters with the power to shape the future of our cities, our states, our nation, discernment is essential.
All politicians claim to speak for their constituents and what’s right for our country, but many of them put their own interests above those of the people who put them in office. Last week, for example, the Senate blocked President Obama’s nominee, Richard Cordray, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The votes against him had nothing to do with whether he was qualified, as Republican Senator Orrin Hatch made clear: “This is not about the nominee, who appears to be a decent person and may very well be qualified.” They simply oppose the agency itself, an agency that would protect consumers from the unethical and fraudulent practices that led to our current financial crisis.
So are they being truthful when they say that they want to help our country recover from the Great Recession? Or are they more interested in protecting the organizations that caused it in the first place, for their own personal gain? Discernment means recognizing that actions speak louder than words.
Elizabeth Warren, who spearheaded the creation of the agency and is now running for the democratic nomination for Senator in Massachusetts, has been facing a series of attack ads sponsored by Karl Rove. The first series portrayed Warren as an Occupy Wall Street sympathizer—but it backfired. Before the ads, Warren was 5 points behind incumbent Scott Brown in the polls. After the ads, she was 7 points ahead. So Rove put out a new series of ads claiming she is in cahoots with Wall Street, perhaps the most obviously ridiculous claim he could have made, and a contradiction to the first ads. It doesn’t take much discernment to see whether Rove is being truthful, yet the ads have had a negative effect.
He is attacking women politicians across the board, including the women of Emily’s List, starting with Claire McCaskill, who is running for reelection to the Senate in Missouri. Who’s next? Mazie Hirono, Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Baldwin . . . women protecting our rights, our kids’ rights, and the planet. These women are or have the potential to be visionary leaders. They are envisioning a future scenario we all can embrace.
What can we do to fight back against the attacks against our rights, our personal and national solvency, and the people, like Elizabeth Warren, who are willing to stand up and speak the truth? Once again, we all need to be truth tellers, including those of us in the 1 percent who didn’t sell our country short for our own gain. We can’t let these women stand alone. And we can’t let the lies of others define them—or us. We must define ourselves, and we must discern the truth about others, and then be vocal about getting that truth out to counter the lies.
What cause needs your voice? Your discernment?