“If you demand expressions of religious faith from politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. They won’t all lie to you, but a lot of them will, and it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes.”
The West Wing
In the South, there seems to be a massively large segment of voters who vote based on the self-proclaimed values, religious or otherwise, of those running for office. In Alabama at least, this is getting results that the voters obviously did not intend or anticipate. There has been a slew of resignations of elected government officials in the last year, most recently the (now former) Governor Robert Bentley. Despite Robert Bentley’s campaign ads that proclaimed his family values, he was cheating on his wife with a married woman who was 30 years younger and using state resources to carry out and cover up the affair. This is not a new phenomenon as three Alabama governors have now faced criminal charges since 1992.
That Bentley campaign ad is nothing unusual in Alabama either. Election ads always seem to be an arms race of holiness (and most recently Obama bashing). Maybe voters should start paying attention to the actions of office seekers, instead of their words, to figure out the real values of politicians. This hints at a larger problem in politics nationwide. Soundbites are more appealing than policy. Despite news being 24/7, it seems to have an incredibly short attention span and would rather spend 20 minutes overanalyzing a soundbite with “experts” instead of providing the context of the statement. Much of the blame can be placed on the questionable practices of the media and politicians but voters need to take some responsibility as well. If voters stop eating up the crap they are shoveled than it will still stop getting shoveled.