Political Propaganda, Rhetoric and Manipulation

5:30 AM

The presidential decision our country is going to make over the next several months will impact generations to come, probably more than ever before in the history of our nation. As believers we have a responsibility to respond to this presidential election cycle with wisdom and grace. This is why we need to be discerning when it comes to political propaganda, rhetoric, and manipulation that will take place during the coming months.

While the Apostle Paul was giving wisdom about another subject, we should wisely heed his wisdom as we go through these coming months; Brothers, don't be childish in your thinking, but be infants in evil and adult in your thinking. (1 Corinthians 14:20, HCSB) Here are some thoughts on how we can apply these verses to this election cycle:
  • Don't act childish on social media. We need to be discerning and share wisdom, but we can't act childish when sharing our thoughts. Verify what you read from others before sharing. Don't tear down an individual or his or her family; rise above these tactics. Don't engage in fruitless arguments. Share thoughts and others ideas that will help everyone make better choices.
  • Remain true to Christian biblical values. Yes, our Christian beliefs should be reflected in our decision making. We can't separate what we believe from how we live as we make decisions.
  • Gather your facts about each candidate, pray, and seek wise counsel.
  • Listen carefully to each candidate's message. Be aware that each candidate is using tactics to condition you to his or her platform. Sometimes the message is designed as propaganda targeted at manipulating your emotions and conditioning your thinking. Don't allow yourself to be drawn in by these tactics.
  • Filter everything you hear from the press and other media outlets. We may think that the press is neutral, but most aren't. Many have become political propaganda machines whose goal is to direct your decision-making. For example, the media is now calling what once was viewed as liberal thought as progressive thought. They are communicating that everyone else isn't progressive, including those with conservative views. In another instance, I watched as post-debate news broadcasters basically told viewers who they should vote for based on their analysis of the candidate's debate performance. Watch each interview very carefully. Look to see what they are trying to communicate to you. Don't let anyone condition your thinking.
What should you look for in a candidate? Here are my thoughts at this point. I am sure you can think of others as well.
  • Integrity - Is the candidate honest and possessive of strong moral principles based on Judaeo-Christian beliefs? How does he respond to criticism and accusations?
  • Responsibility - Does the candidate express a feeling of obligation to care and protect the citizens of this country? Does he express a sense of responsibility, not only to the people, but to uphold the values and system of government that has made this country great?
  • Leadership - Will people follow the candidate? Does he possess the skills to gather a strong team of leaders? Does he express a sense of mission? Can he make solid and sound decisions and live by the results? How does he respond to critics?
  • Motive - What is the candidate's goal for being president? Does his goal seem to be self-serving? Listen carefully for motives because this will determine how the United States will look after this candidate leaves office. A narcissistic leader will polarize or destroy any organization or, in this case, country.
As we enter this stretch of the presidential electoral process let's prayerfully ask God to give us wisdom; for we know that, if any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing (James 1:5, HCSB), and might I add, without manipulating you!

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