Every time I head to Mobile or Montgomery, I try to stop at Durbin Farms Market in Clanton, Alabama on the way back. On most recent trip up I-65, the place was covered up with discerning consumers looking for perfect peaches. They were moving baskets around, asking staff questions, and trying to understand differences between varieties. I wish we’d be as selective with our politicians as we are our peaches.

I couldn’t help but imagine how Durbin Farms advertisements might sound if they took a page out of the current political playbook:

“Buy our peaches because they trace their lineage back to the great peach trees of the confederacy. We can’t know how good these peaches can be, if we don’t know where they’ve come from.”

“We stand with President Trump to fight illegal immigrants flooding across the border to take peach picking jobs. We guarantee these peaches were picked by real Americans.”

“When I was cleaning my gun at Sunday school, I wanted an true American peach. The only way our peaches could be more American is if they were wrapped in an the flag and delivered by a first responder.”

These ads might definitely grab a customer’s attention, but they wouldn’t address anything useful to help differentiate between a good peach and a bad one. Even if those advertisements worked to bring customers, purchasers would certainly examine the produce in detail upon arrival.

In politics, most voters don’t investigate beyond the advertisements. We don’t care as much about the quality of the candidates or measurable progress they make towards solving problems we care about. We tend to focus on how a candidate’s political ads and personality make us feel.

This election season, many of us are politically fried. We’ve been scared in one direction and back to the other. Someone is going to get us and upend our way of life. These phantoms will take our jobs, confiscate our guns, invade our country, and corrupt our children.

The details about any positive policy agenda are so scant it’s a wonder politicians don’t campaign on being “Pro-Good” and “Anti-Bad.”

The truth is that we don’t really expect much from our leaders. As long as they cheer for our political team, they’re better than the other team’s candidate.

Imagine if we picked peaches that way.

It wouldn’t matter whether a peach tasted good or not. The difference between a sweet, soft peach and one that tastes like a sour rock wouldn’t matter. As long as the advertisement made us feel good, who cares?

That’s obviously ridiculous. The customers at Durbin Farms Market do just about everything to test those peaches short of taking a bite. They even have signs asking patrons to refrain from squeezing the peaches.

While we should probably avoid physically squeezing our politicians, demanding that they explain what they’re doing to represent us is a fantastic idea. Ask for specifics, and don’t fall for talking points that amount to excuses for doing nothing. Politicians work for us. We must to hold them accountable for doing the job we pay them to do.

If you’re tired of hearing a loop of “Drain the swamp,” “Fight special interests,” and “End waste, fraud and abuse,” elect better leaders. I’m confident we can put forth at least as much effort picking out our politicians as we do our peaches.

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