Politics + Religion became taboo, maybe by design, and it left many regular people clueless about these two titan cultural subjects.
We have all heard the old backwards adage: "Don't discuss politics or religion at the dinner table!"
Because they're highly contentious. Because they cause emotional reactions. Because they could be divisive. And because they are subjects that the system doesn't want open dialogue on since then it would make it difficult to manipulate them.
So I thought I would run through a quick list based on things I have heard that I know to be untrue and/or misleading about politics...
MYTH #1: Political Donations can be used for any expense and/or be used personally by the candidate.
TRUTH: Campaign funds can only be used for campaign expenses such as: marketing/advertising, admin support of campaign, marketing and other promotional materials, event costs and necessary travel. Candidates do not get to "keep" donations.
MYTH #2: Only people in the candidate's district can donate.
TRUTH: Any individual in the US can donate to a candidate, and each state has their own campaign laws regarding limits. Anyone, including business interests, can donate to a PAC which can support particular candidates, and again, each state has it's own laws that govern PACs.
MYTH #3: Politicians get paid a lot.
TRUTH: State Representatives and Senators make significantly* less than US Congress Members and other elected federal positions. ie: Florida Legislators make $29,697/yr according to Ballotpedia. US Congress Members make $174,000 per year.
Disclaimer: The way that corrupt* politicians make millions in office is through insider trading, shady "book deals", shell foundations, and so on. They also set up PACs to take money from corporate interests and offer favors in return in terms of legislation that benefits the corporation. Yes it is illegal, buit doesn't stop most of them.
MYTH #4: People get into politics for power.
TRUTH: Many people do, however, the GOAL of becoming a public servant* is to SERVE the public. Corruption and lack of moral foundation has unfortunately muddied the waters.
MYTH #5: If you get into politics, you can't work.
TRUTH: Almost all State Legislators work careers or have businesses. US Congress Members it is a bit more complicated and typically they adopt legislating as their "career". This is because it is hard to run a business and not commingle your status/power to benefit the business as a federal elected official. (which would obviously be a conflict) The spouses of US Congress Members however are free to run a business and/or have a career.
There are more myths I am sure, but those are a few that have popped up in my world, especially since I announced my run for FL State House. Being a grassroots candidate, I will not be taking money from corporations through my PAC. I also will not be doing the bidding of any "big donors". My goal, as mentioned above, is to serve.
One of the main reasons I decided to throw my hat in the ring is I am sick and tired of the manipulative tactics of 98% of politicians: promise one thing to get elected and do another. I despise manipulators. I hope one day in the future there is a method or system of accountability that removes these people from public office should they blatantly vote the opposite of their campaign promises... but I won't hold my breath.
Back to the "don't talk about politics" thing: NO. Definitely talk about politics. Learn how to have civil discourse and difficult conversations. Your belief system is undeniably tied to the politics you align with, you know that right? How you view the way your society and government operates is important, and you absolutely should discuss.
Would love to hear your feedback on this topic and see any myths you may have heard. Please feel free to leave a comment. As always, I am grateful and humbled by your time + attention. If you found this helpful or interesting, please share.
Godspeed and Save the Republic. xo