5 Reasons Why You Should Join C.P.R. the Citizens 4 Political Realism

If you have been following the American political scene in recent months, you may feel like you’ve fallen through a portal into an alternate universe. So much of what we see and hear from politicians, the media and fellow citizens seems to be coming from another planet. Crazy statements, conspiracy theories, slanderous accusations and self-aggrandizing falsehoods are disturbingly common. While this might seem like a new phenomenon, it’s actually nothing new at all. The politics of distortion has been around for centuries — perhaps because people will believe just about anything if they hear it often enough and from people they trust. In a time when so many Americans seem willing to believe just about anything that panders to their fears or prejudices, it’s more important than ever to join the Citizens 4 Political Realism (CPR). This organization is committed to restoring truth and realism as guiding principles of public discourse on politics and policies. If you agree with this statement, read on to learn five reasons why you should join CPR:

Informed citizens need to take a stand.

Democracy is a fragile thing that can be easily undermined by ignorance and misinformation. The more informed citizens there are about what’s going on, the more likely it is that democracy will work as intended. In a democracy, the informed citizen is the watchdog whose job it is to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and make sure they’re working for the people. But if citizens aren’t informed, they can’t make good decisions at the polls or hold politicians accountable when they break their promises or misbehave. An uninformed electorate has no ability to prevent demagogues and aspiring autocrats from taking power.

Political discourse is polluted by falsehoods.

Partisan politics has always been a contact sport, but in recent years it has become so toxic that it seems impossible to talk to people with whom you disagree without resorting to insults and slander. If you try to present facts to support your arguments, you’re likely to be denounced as a “bot” or a “shill” — terms used not to rebut facts but to silence people. While it’s true that political campaigns have always been full of lies, current political discourse is polluted by far more false statements than it used to be. Ironically, the Internet and social media, which were supposed to make it easier to find the truth, have made it easier to spread falsehoods.

Politics has become a business and businesses always sell what people want to buy.

The Internet has also brought business practices into political campaigns that are alien to democratic discourse. Candidates now try to create brands and market themselves like products — and some of them even run their campaigns like businesses. Politicians now spend as much time on marketing and polls as they do on policy. They focus on what will sell and what will please donors. And they spend a lot of time attacking opponents — not only because it helps get votes but because it diverts attention from their own shortcomings. Because voters are so easily misled and manipulated, businesses have been able to buy elections for decades. Business interests have poured billions of dollars into elections and lobbying because it’s a good investment. The return on investment comes in the form of laws and regulations that help businesses operate more profitably and expand their markets.

Democracy works best when informed citizens participate.

One of the main points behind democracy is that people should decide their own futures and policies through informed debate and discussion. But if citizens don’t know what’s happening and don’t have reliable facts to guide their decisions, they can’t participate effectively in public discussions. Businesses and special interests seeking influence over government know this and have spent billions of dollars to shape the political landscape in ways that benefit them but not the rest of us. Politicians and the media have been more than happy to help because it means more power, money, and prestige for them. This has created an environment where citizens are inundated with questionable or even false information — and have little hope of finding the facts they need to make good decisions.

A commitment to truth and realism will help build trust among citizens.

Trust is an essential component of any successful relationship — especially between citizens and the government. Democracies depend on the public trusting elected officials to do what’s best for the people — and officials needing the trust of the people to retain power. Truth and realism are essential components of trust. When people hear only lies or self-serving half-truths, they begin to question the trustworthiness of everyone around them — including the government. People begin to wonder if they can believe anything they hear — and they start to lose faith in democracy because they no longer trust their leaders. People need to believe that what they hear is true and that candidates and officials are being honest with them. If they don’t, they’ll lose faith in government and, in extreme cases, they’ll start to lose faith in democracy itself.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: Democracy works only when people have access to accurate information and have faith in the government and politicians. When falsehoods and slander become more common than facts and trustworthy behavior, democracy starts to decay and eventually falls apart. Democracy can’t survive in a toxic environment of lies, distortions and mistrust. So it’s up to all of us to restore truth and realism as guiding principles of political debate and public discourse. If you’re fed up with the lies, distortions and general nastiness that have become too common in politics — and want to do something about it — now is the time to join or re-join CPR.

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