Does truth matter?

If you were stopped on the street to be interviewed and asked which you preferred truth or lies, I think most of us would say truth.

Frankly, I can’t remember a time anyone said to me, “Awesome, you lied to me. I totally get it. You misrepresented the truth regardless of the affect it had on me, other people, society or the world. Yay!  We’re good.”

Truth telling has certainly been an issue for those of us living in America over the past two years.  The downward spiral of our civil discourse perpetuated by the lying of our leadership has taken its toll on us as human beings and as a country. The divisiveness, infighting and arguing among friends over political points of view has become destructive.  Add in the negativity towards the press and the tensions are unprecedented.  Therefore, many decide not to discuss politics and thus we become silent.

I suggest this is a time when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice-- and that is not okay.  The injustice, being the narrative that is delivered to us by our “leaders” not based on truth. Especially in the blinding light of facts, history and corroboration.  Instead, it is a narrative positioned around self-interest, power and greed.

Using lying to an end is unacceptable for those of us who expect both authentic relationships and leaders. My belief is, some things need to be said, some stands need to be taken.  Who exposes the lies, who are the gatekeepers to this information?  I submit to you the free press.

A free press is mandatory for a free society. A free press allows people to obtain information from a wide range of sources that are not dictated, restricted or censored by the government.

I majored in Public Relations & History in college.  Public Relations fell under the school of Journalism.  Back then we learned how to write “copy”, so we could graduate with a marketable skill.   We could work for a newspaper with the reporting standard of “who, what, why, when and where.”  One of the most valuable things I learned in college was how to read critically and how to write.  This skill has served me well, reinforcing the value of truthful, factual communication.

In 2018 I am a witness to the courage and fortitude of our many American journalists as they pursue truth and civil discourse in the face of disdain.  Many are slandered, called the Opposition Party, Enemy of the People and Fake news. The press was called “very dangerous and sick” by our president.   When the Boston Globe and three hundred newspapers recently came together to stand firm in solidarity on freedom of the press the response by this president was, “The Globe is in collusion with other papers on Free Press.” This too is not okay.

“When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 it took less than one year to decimate the free press.  “The Nazi regime deployed the radio, press and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending Communist uprising.  Then the Nazi’s sent SA Storm Troopers and members of the Nazi elite Paramilitary to brutalize or arrest political opponents establishing detention centers and concentration camps.  They broke into opposing political party offices, destroying printing presses and newspapers.”

In the postwar US occupation zone of Germany, the military administration believed that the reestablishment of a free press was vital to the denazification and reeducation of Germans, and essential to the creation of democracy in Germany.”

-The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

This issue of a free press has me unsettled. It has me thinking about Citizenship.  Being a citizen is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or nation.  Doesn’t our citizenship call us to find our voices regarding our government and enter the conversation?

For anyone thinking it is safest to not discuss politics, do we realize that “Politics” is one of the most influential factors on human existence and our future? Including our children’s and grandchildren’s future? Politics affects us; therefore it is personal.  Don’t we want to engage in dialog regarding decisions that affect us?  Overt examples being Healthcare, Environmental Protections and use of tax money.

By raising children to not talk about politics it’s a small wonder so little gets accomplished. It’s a good thing the millennials and gen zs are doing it anyway. Maybe what we need to do is remind ourselves to be respectful when discussing politics. All of us, of all parties.

Regardless of our personal political affiliations, we are starting to see the unraveling of this president.  The lying, deceit, blaming and the complete lack of responsible behavior cannot stand in the light of day, in the light of truth.  The means do not justify the ends to fulfill certain political outcomes. Lies never end well.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they do. What makes our country work is our ability to disagree vigorously while we search responsibly for solutions. This is democracy. A form of government established by the people, for the people and operated through our elected officials. Our free, untampered with elections are crucially important.  Elections are our voices. 

Make no mistake, character and integrity in our leaders’ matter and we should demand it.  Trust in our highest officials matter and lest we forget, we matter.  Respect for us, all of us, the people of this great country is important.  In every administration the people who work for the administration say they serve at the pleasure of the president. We must remember that every elected official serves at the pleasure of the people.

Time will tell how this tale ends and the ramifications of decisions made. I choose to see and hear the truth supporting earnestly those who seek to report it.  Followed by making my voice heard, through the power of my vote. 

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.  If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”

-William Faulkner

Until next time,

Sat nam.