We’ve been settling into life in Tennessee, the kids have been getting used to new school routines (and bus schedules) and I have been trying to handle the paperwork and logistics of moving to a new state… in between painting, fixing and enjoying our new home in western Tennessee.

New health insurance, doctors and a dentist. Not to mention the practical things like replacing my drivers license and car registration. And the most important thing of all, registering to vote. Since the election is coming up soon, I had to make sure that I had everything done in time.

I was going to just go get a registration card at the post office, or via the internet, but when I jumped online to check it out I quickly realized I needed a Tennessee ID to register. So off to the DMV I went, with my two proofs of residency. In my rush I forgot my birth certificate, which is necessary to prove identity. Apparently my California license wasn’t enough! But since it is California, I guess they can never be too sure!

Thankfully the office is only 20 minutes from my house and was not really crowded.

So back I went, and after passing my vision test with flying colors I was all set. I jokingly mentioned to the clerk that I wouldn’t have come in so quickly to get my license, but I wanted to make sure I could register to vote since I had yet to miss a general election in my 22 years of voting. Well, the clerk proceeded to fill out the paperwork to register, and after my signature on the dotted line, sent off the info to the county registrar’s office.

And Monday it arrived. My voter ID card. It’s really real! A trip to the local Republican headquarters is definitely in order, and on the list for later this week.

One of the more exciting aspects of voting in Tennessee for the first time is having a battleground Senate race that’s up for grabs following the retirement of Senator Bob Corker. I just started getting campaign mailers, and have been seeing television ads for a month already. Of course, there is little question who I will be voting for in the race - Phil Bredesen was already a no go before the latest Project Veritas video drop where one of his staffers admits that he would really have been a no vote for Justice Kavanaugh had he been in the Senate, contrary to his campaign statements.

I had kind of already figured as much. But glad to know my political instincts are still working.

As of today, the election is 20 short days away, and I am waiting to see what will emerge as this election season’s October Surprise. One never knows what the day’s news cycle will bring, and in the Trump years what direction it will take.

Take Monday, for instance. The early morning hours brought us Elizabeth Warren and a DNA test to “prove” her proclaimed Native American heritage - Cherokee Nation to be exact - which had blown up in her face by late morning. Come to find out, Senator Warren is approximately 1/1,024th non-European, which is even less than the average American of European descent. Oh, and on top of it all, Native American lineage can not be traced through DNA, there isn’t enough samples in the database for comparison, so Warren’s DNA was compared to those of Mexican, Columbian or Peruvian lineage.

By the time mid-afternoon hit, most pundits who were celebrating the story mere hours before were decrying Warren’s stunt as a distraction from the mid-term fight. That would be after the Boston Globe issued two very big corrections to the central facts of the story and before a very strongly worded statement from the Cherokee Nation decrying the political stunt, calling it “inappropriate and wrong.”

In the afternoon the big breaking news was that Stormy Daniel’s defamation lawsuit against President Trump was dismissed, and she was ordered to pay his legal fees. Let me say, the jokes on social media were plentiful, though definitely not fit for publication in a family-friendly newspaper.

The day brought serious stories as well, including information about the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Embassy in Turkey. Khashoggi is a Saudi national and U.S. green card holder who has written for the Washington Post and different Saudi outlets. The whole situation has many questions, but not a lot of answers. His death has not been confirmed, relying only on Turkish government sources. The press immediately denounced Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Salman.

Some of the questions surround Khashoggi’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and a former intelligence head for the Kingdom. It’s also curious that this journalist’s death is in the spotlight while just across our southern border 13 journalists have been murdered in the last year.

It is interesting that the press elevated this case to national prominence, calling on the administration to take action against the Saudis. Accusations swirled and denials were issued. Unfortunately, most of the people involved in this drama are not the most upfront and open brokers of information, including a decent section of the national and foreign media who have disseminated foreign propaganda as national news on more than one occasion. And at the end of the day, we may never have clear information about what truly happened.

I am not prepared to scuttle the alliance that the United States and Saudi Arabia share, especially on a story that has changed daily since it was first reported, by a press that is constantly looking for the next club to bash the President with. Saudi Arabia has become a necessary partner in the Middle East both in fighting ISIS and as a stabilizing force.

Yes, we must always be the voice of freedom and liberty around the world. We must also be an example of being cautious with accusations.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.