Election Media

Guilt By Association

You’re running for public office. Your spouse/campaign manager walks up to you with that look on their face, you know the one. It tells you they have bad news. ‘You might want to sit down for this,’ your trusted adviser says. As they hand you a phone or newspaper, you start imagining what it could be. Memories flash through your mind. What scandal would you have? What does the headline say? What skeleton is in your closet that you’re going to assume the press or whoever found out about and now everybody knows? Maybe there are several possibilities, but what is the “worst,” in your opinion?

Before people run for office, surely they think about what the press could dig up. And surely, when they’re in office, they think before they speak, think before they do, before they vote. Always assume you will be caught. And even if you won’t be caught, don’t do that thing – don’t cheat on your spouse/take a bribe/use illegal drugs, etc. Right? You know better. I know better. Hell, I’d know better than to run in the first place. What is wrong with these people?!

These politicians know the difference between right and wrong. They have to. If they don’t they need to be out of public office, anyway, but they know when they’re making a bad and/or dishonest decision, taking a bad and/or dishonest action. We know, so they must know, too, right? When they’re found out (and they will be found out) notice who stands up for them; most of the time it’s people who are guilty of the same offenses.

Growing up, I remember Mom making a big deal about it if she thought I was hanging around with someone who could be a bad influence on me. She was, to be honest, a terrible judge of character. Dad, on the other hand, was a pretty good judge though he never lectured me about who I could or could not hang out with. Mom loved the worst ones and was suspicious of the people I was more likely to be a bad influence on. It amused me that she thought I didn’t have any resistance to peer pressure or that I chose my friends that poorly. Still, she was right about one thing: like it or not, the people you choose to associate with reflect upon you.

Life is about choices.

I often hear people say that you shouldn’t bother to listen to anyone on Twitter or that social media is where you scream into the void and hope someone answers. Two things. First, just as in life, if you choose to follow and only associate with idiots and racists then you’ll find that the friends you have chosen are, shall we say, “low quality?” Listen to people on Twitter, but just as in life, choose to surround yourself with people who are smart, considerate, deliberate; choose the same kinds of people you would want to be your friends in real life. Choose people who challenge you to be better, to think critically, to be kind. Second, if you feel like you’re screaming into the void hoping someone will answer, stop screaming and listen. Social media is just that: social. If you think it’s just you on a stage, and if you treat it as such, then you’ll get nothing out of it but the sound of your own, probably ignorant, voice. Listen. Read. Join in conversations if you have something constructive to offer. Keep your mind and heart open so that you can receive. If you’re not receiving, consider that you might be putting out “information” nobody wants or needs or you might not be listening as you should. Or maybe you’re choosing your friends poorly.

So now, getting to the point. We read stories regularly about all the lawmakers who won’t seek reelection or who are stepping down because they were caught cheating or because it’s been found out they’re pedophiles. Hell, one potential replacement for a cheater is, himself, a cheater. And some of these people stay in the race anyway, despite the fact that everyone knows they’re pedophiles or other sexual predators or that they assaulted a reporter. Some do some time for this crime or that and then come back. And their voters let them. They are making bad choices knowing full well what they’re doing. And we let them. Why? There are millions of people in this country. Any number from those millions could do a better job than that schmuck. Choose your friends and politicians wisely.

In the news, at least every week, we’re reading stories about evidence and investigations into a possible conspiracy (or conspiracies?) against the United States with Russia, a hostile foreign power. We know that Russia tampered with our voting machines in addition to interfering in the election. We read stories about the stuff our racist/sexist lawmakers and even the President say. In public. Where everyone can hear them. It’s not just the “shithole” countries comments; it’s all kinds of comments against women, black people, Mexican people, Muslim people, etc. One horrid comment alone should be enough for us and the press to bury this asshole’s career for all time. We’re hearing about evidence and investigations into money laundering, fraud, and obstruction of justice. We’re hearing our own lawmakers ignore Russian sanctions, ignore our need for open internet, for affordable health insurance, for equal rights, for sensible gun laws to protect the innocent, especially our children. When one of these deplorables is found out, the others circle the wagons rather than standing up, standing aside, and saying “NO! No more.”

I am aware that a few have stood up and offered words – Flake and McCain, for example – but notice they don’t put their money where their mouths are? They say the words and then go ahead and vote with their party, against their constituents’ interests, anyway.

I’m not talking about sides here. I am saying our elected people (and all people) need to decide who they will associate with. We need to decide who we will associate with. Since before the election, I am no longer friends with some people. It’s not because we don’t agree politically; it’s because they made it crystal clear they don’t care about me, my son, or other people, in general. Why the hell would I choose to be friends with or even associate with people who DO.NOT.GIVE.A.FUCK.ABOUT.ME? Maybe they think I’m “one of the good ones?” This isn’t politics; this is common sense and common decency.

So, as you look at people, don’t pass judgment immediately based solely on who is standing next to them, but do let yourself wonder. Keep your eyes and your mind open to what you’re seeing. Sides shouldn’t be made up of what people look like, who they love, etc. Actions determine your alliances.

What should I and everyone else suspect:

  • If you associate with/defend/support people who consistently make bad decisions, cheat on their partners/constituents?
  • If you associate with/defend/support rapists and other sexual predators?
  • If you associate with/defend/support people who hate and/or work to undermine women and their efforts to achieve equal rights under the law?
  • If you insult/work against your law-abiding, hardworking neighbors who were brought here before they were old enough to decide for themselves?
  • If you associate with/defend/support Nazis, racists, and members of the KKK?
  • If you associate with/defend/support fascists/dictators?
  • If you associate with/defend/support money launderers?
  • If you associate with/defend/support people who are defrauding banks and our own country?
  • If you take part in/defend/support obstruction of justice?
  • If you can’t be bothered to support/enforce Russian sanctions when you know what they are up to?
  • If you can’t be bothered to fight for the integrity of America’s voting system?
  • If you ignore flagrant, impeachable offenses and law-breaking by the POTUS and other members of the cabinet/government?

My own mother still appears to be under the GOP’s spell. Perhaps it’s the same one she was under when I was a kid and she tended to approve of the wrong kids. If she could see what is happening around her, though, would she wait until all the investigations were done to recognize what is going on and who all is involved? or would she disassociate herself now just as she instructed me to do when I was young?

I’m not yet ready to use this banner, but I am thinking about it. Seriously. They’re all not just in photos together; they’re clearly working toward the same goals. They all appear to be guilty by association.

Link for photo: Trump Hosts Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov And Ambassador Kislyak At White House – photo by Getty Images, posted by NPR

Link for photo:  Sept. 5, 2016 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Hangzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province – photo Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool (via AP, File), posted by The WashingtonTimes

Link: United States Department of Justice, Special Counsel’s Office – link to court documents, indictments, etc. by Special Counsel Mueller’s office.

Link to original Tweet by Ryan Knight.

Cheater collage photos by various news sources including Getty and AP.

#GuiltByAssociation #NeverTrustARepublican #RussiaSanctions

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