Here’s a great story from a book by Chris Guillbeau called The 100 Dollar Start-up.

Once, there were two political ads in the news. One said “I don’t agree with all of Obama’s policies, but I love and respect him.”, and the other one said, “I like Obama; I just don’t understand his policies!” These ads both had essentially the same message, but the way the messages were conveyed made it so that one of the ads was for Obama, and the other one was against him!

Before we go on, let’s define a couple of terms. First, a message is anything you say. Messaging is how you deliver your message, whether it’s speaking, like a speech, or writing, like a web article about messages and messaging.

My highschool debate teacher always said, “How you say it is what you’re saying.” And it’s true. For example, if someone’s message is “Give me all your money!”, are you more likely to take them seriously if they say it while laughing hysterically, or while pointing a gun to your head? 

How you say it is what you’re saying, and unfortunately, some politicians take advantage of this principle. For example, you can listen to a politician give a speech and think “Wow I like this guy! That was a really good speech!”, and then you realize that he didn’t actually say anything substantial. His messaging was so good that it made it sound like he had a message when he actually didn’t. 

Another unfortunate fact is that lots of people don’t realize this until it’s too late, and end up electing these people. It’s a fact of life that people will be more likely to listen to a bad message with great messaging than a good message with bad messaging. Take Bill Clinton for example. He was an amazing, charismatic public speaker, so the people voted him in. Later, everyone found out what kind of a person he really was, but he used his messaging techniques to lie his way out of any punishment. 

So what can you do to make sure you’re not voting other “Bill Clintons” into office. How can you avoid electing people that don’t have the best interests of America at the top of their agenda? 

The answer is so simple that too many people overlook it: Freedom. 

Freedom is always within the best interests of America. Freedom is the lifeblood of our country. To protect freedom is the reason that thousands of brave Americans have given their lives. To protect freedom is the reason we have a government in the first place. So answer this question: why would you vote someone into office who plans to take away that precious gift, even if they have an excuse?

When asked that question, most people respond “I would never vote for someone like that!” But too many of them do. Every election. 

Why? The answer lies in messaging. If a politician can convey his message well enough, it won’t matter what the message is. People will let themselves be convinced. As Adolph Hitler said, “If you tell a lie long enough and loud enough, people will believe it.”

Be smart. Don’t fall for the big lie. Next time you hear a politician in a debate or on the news, think about what they’re actually saying. Don’t focus just on the words coming out of their mouth. Ignore the messaging and focus on the message. 

And then choose freedom.