I first learned about “Whisper Campaigns” years ago when I got involved in volunteering with the Republican Party. A local incumbent I was volunteering for was not being directly attacked by their primary challenger, but instead the challenger was systematically spreading false rumors about him. The rumors gained traction and the challenger won. Within months of taking office, the challenger showed their true colors and became a huge disappointment to the very voters who voted for him! When the next election came around, this person was voted out by a large majority and a painful lesson was learned. Sadly, the damage had been done and it would take years to undo much of the poor leadership decisions that took place during the term of the ‘whisperer!’
So, how can you tell if you have been the victim of a whisper campaign. It’s simple. When a candidate begins sharing negative personal information about their opponent instead of focusing on the issues or themselves and what they plan to do – it’s possible they are spreading rumors. What should you do about it? There are a few options. 1. Confront the person spreading the rumor and ask them to provide proof of what they’re saying or 2. Speak directly with the person whom the rumors concern and give them the opportunity to correct the information. Lastly, if what you hear is almost impossible to believe…it most likely is.
I learned this valuable lesson years ago in my childhood Sunday school classes. While it is not always comfortable, it is the right and fair thing to do if someone has a rumor (Back then we called it ‘gossip’) spread about them.
I vividly remember my Jr. High Sunday school teacher at our little church in Marshall, Texas staring me down while quoting the 9th Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor!” And just to be sure she got her point across, she quoted Psalm 101; “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly, I will destroy!”
As a very impressionable 13-year-old, I took this seriously. I knew I had gossiped…a lot! But I did not want to be ‘destroyed’ by God!! I had visions of a giant hand coming down from the sky waiting to crush me the next moment I gossiped! I wish I could say this vision kept me in check, but as a typical teenage girl, I still participated in my share of gossip! However, it did give me pause to avoid many unnecessary friendship battles and heartaches!
That lesson has remained with me ever since. That’s why, when I began volunteering in politics, it bothered me when I saw people, I had great respect for, spread rumors and participate in “whisper campaigns!”
Some might say…it’s just politics! I would argue that it doesn’t have to be. It’s definitely not my brand of politics. This attitude is the reason we are living through some of the most deceptive and dirty campaigns ever witnessed.
At all levels you have candidates blaming each other for unsubstantiated actions. Mud-slinging and negative attack ads work! Unfortunately. That’s why unscrupulous candidates use them leaving you, the voter, to sift through all the noise and try and decipher who is the good man or woman! Be wary, be suspicious and do your homework…it’s worth it.
While not easy, it is so important to know the facts. Voting records at all levels of government can be found online. If you really want to know the truth, it’s there. You just have to do a little digging!
We are entering another cycle of campaigning for run-off as well as precinct chair elections. Please, please seek truth and facts about all candidates as you are making your voting choices. Take my word for it-if you are hearing all kinds of “rumors,” “gossip,” “slander,” etc.… Don’t be misled! Do your homework and cast your vote wisely.
Lynn Haueter is the Bandera County Republican Party Chair. She is a 5th generation Texan and lifelong conservative Republican. She currently resides in Bandera with her husband and their Boston Terrier, Bandit. Her favorite role(s) are wife, mom, and especially grandma!