He said, she said

What people say is not as important as what they do.

In the aftermath of Trump’s speech Tuesday, media outlets around the world have been focusing on providing descriptions, analysis and predictions based upon his words. However, the emphasis on his words or on his demeanor only distracts the public from the fact that politicians do not write their speeches, and thus these speeches cannot be viewed as a view into the politician’s intentions.

Speeches are made to increase public favorability of the politician and progress their agenda. Perhaps there is information within these speeches that is factual. Perhaps there are parts that are outright false.

However, it is important to note that speeches are not lectures – they are a formulated attempt to sway the public’s opinion to benefit their agenda.

This is why, as a populace, we cannot take any politician at their word and trust that they are being genuine. We must judge politicians by their actions and base our support for (or criticism against) them by the effectiveness of their actions and how well they are working to improve the daily lives of Americans.

Thus, our attention should not be focused upon Trump’s verbal pledge to protect the environment, but on his actions. In this case, his actions include deregulating high-risk industries, selling off public lands to environmentally harmful industries and attempting to dismantle if not completely eliminate the EPA, which is the governmental body in charge of protecting our environment for the benefit of all citizens.

We do not have to read between the lines to realize that “alternative facts,” lies and false statements have become the norm in today’s political sphere. However, focusing our attention and political power toward holding politicians accountable for actions that take advantage of our political system to benefit private industry cohorts can help us change the trajectory of our toxic political and real-world climate.

If we continue to have faith in the words of our political leaders and ignore their actions, we may all face challenges, like those in Flint, Mich., who have not had access to clean drinking water since April 25, 2014.