Imelda Marcos was filmed saying something rather chilling in a 2019 documentary of her life: “Perception is real; the truth is not,” she says in “The Kingmaker,” a Showtime documentary.
This observation is at once disturbing and all too true.
For the last several years the polarization of American politics has borne this phrase out, and intolerance, it seems, is informing perception.
Democrats believe one thing; the Republicans another but neither side, it seems, is cordially allowing the other their views.
In 2017, a political operative in a Sunday morning Meet the Press interview used the term “alternative facts” in defending a false statement.
The Ocracoke Observer rarely strays into national politics, preferring to focus on the more influential county commissioners and the state’s legislature, the General Assembly. Their actions can have a major impact on the island’s community.
But the Nov. 3 General Election, in which we vote for the incumbent president Donald J. Trump or challenger Joe Biden, will be one of the most critical in American history in terms of the direction and stability of the country. We felt we had to weigh in.
A wary, cynical electorate is nevertheless galvanized as Republicans and Democrats play to their base and court the growing number of unaffiliated voters.
Voter registrations for all political parties have increased in the last few months and record numbers of mail-in ballots have been issued. As of Oct. 8, North Carolina voters have requested 1.25 million absentee ballots.
In 2016 on the same date only 152,030 requests had been made.
Already, of the 7.23 million registered voters, 420,695 votes, or 6%, have already been cast. A combination of high interest in choosing candidates coupled with safety concerns from waiting in long lines to vote account for such high numbers.
What is most disturbing during this election—indeed these last four years—is the vitriol with which the two political parties are going at each other and the attempts to crush any opposition viewpoint.
At the same time, others are working feverishly against mail-in voting due to concerns of unsubstantiated fraud.
Reporters who ask questions the president does not like and news outlets who question the president and report on his untruths are labeled as “fake” news. But the right to criticize our leaders was a crucial concept of our nation’s founders.
The first presidential “debate,” which featured a belligerent president railing and stomping on the challenger’s answers, demonstrated that (good and bad) behavior begins at the top.
Is this really us? Is this the way we want our leader to behave?
What happened to the give-and-take of ideas–without yelling or demonizing the opposition–that has been the hallmark of our free country?
The United States was founded on the right of the people to “petition the government” to seek redress and to peaceably assemble. In the last four years these values have been turned upside down.
Since the 2016 presidential election, our country has experienced great chaos and turmoil: An impeachment of the president (though failed removal from office), a pandemic that has already killed more than 200,000 Americans and still rages. Violence at protests over racial inequality in numerous cities recalls those of the 1960s.
But is this truth, or is it perception?
Whose truth/perception do you believe?
Whatever your viewpoint, your vote matters. Many elections have been won or lost by a few votes.
So, we can’t stress enough that truly, your vote does count, whether it be via mail-in or in person.
The North Carolina early voting period runs from Thursday, Oct. 15, to Saturday, Oct. 31, with Ocracoke’s early voting days of Oct. 22 and 23.
Information about local candidates is in this paper and online at ocracokeobserver.com., and information about state and federal candidates can be found at Ballotpedia.com.
We hope everyone takes this election very seriously and does what many in the world are not able to do and that is to vote.