From the Publisher’s Desk: Freedom, facts & fiction
Just before we took our November issue to press, I dropped off my ballot at the El Paso County Citizens Center on Garden of the Gods Road.
Some may think it doesn’t matter but to me, voting always seems like the right thing to do. And because we are also honoring our veterans this month, it seems all the more important.
These brave men and women went through World War II and many of them did not return. We owe a debt to those WWII veterans and also to those who fought in Korea and Vietnam. Alongside our allies in each of these conflicts and wars, they fought courageously and honorably. Their mission was to preserve our democracy and freedoms in the United States, one being our right to vote.
One of these veterans was my father. Carl Lester Schlabaugh saw combat during WWII in the Philippines and in Japan. He came home with a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a serious case of malaria. He seldom spoke of his time in the service, but we knew it had made a profound impact on him both physically and mentally.
If my father was alive today, I know he would be shocked and angered at how the Russians and other adversaries are bent on meddling with our elections. Many of our veterans still have extremely negative feelings towards our enemies like Russia, China, Japan, North Korea or North Vietnam. How would it be possible for them to erase those feelings?
We know that social media, like Facebook, is playing a huge part in this attempt to “divide and conquer” us Americans. I doubt if my dad even knew what Facebook was and wonder what his reaction would be to the owner of Facebook allowing fake political ads for millions of us to see. My guess is that he’d be outraged.
Years ago, a journalist friend of mine and I discussed the need for a Political Ad Panel. Their job would be to analyze and fact-check the truthfulness of political advertising. If they were found to be untrue, the advertiser would be fined and the ad kicked off that social media platform. And why stop with Facebook, why not make sure that TV advertising was factual before we see it a million times a day? Hey, and why not add in those annoying robocalls?
It seems to me that protecting our freedom and getting the facts before we vote is a job for all of us. We owe it to the veterans -to all us Americans for that matter- to ensure our democracy and rights thereof are not tampered with. We should guard our freedoms jealously and not let our enemies destroy our right to a free and democratic election.