In the words of Dr. Seuss, “How did it get so late so soon?” As the fast paced, largely surreal, national news continues to bewilder, I am possessed with thoughts of time and truth. Many quotes re-emerge.
“I wish it had not happened in my time.” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.” Yet we try to understand, try to make some sense of the senseless, asking why, oh Lord. Yet as Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment, there is no why.”
But we must participate in the debate … make our case … logically find some consensus … an answer. Or not. … Paulo Caelho wrote, ”Don’t waste your time trying to explain, People only hear what they want to hear.” That has never sounded more true than right now. But then again, what is truth in this post-factual era? As Winston Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
As of this writing, the overtly obnoxious, occasional occupant of the Oval Office has yet to respond to a recent terrorist attack on American soil because the victims were Muslim. Nor has he responded to the loss of three servicemen because it interrupts his constant talking about himself. The job requires a bit of well-spoken compassion and artful leadership. He clearly has no capacity for either.
Perhaps that is too much to expect from one so gifted in mendacity. As Dostoyevsky wrote, “The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.”
Respect for the truth reached a new low in his claim of a congratulatory phone call from the Boys Scouts. No one … not the most ardent racist, homophobe, immigrant-bashing member of his he-man woman haters club believed that for a second. Granted his “base” does not care, but nobody believes that happened. One might be inclined to feel defenseless in the face of such utter dis-regard for the truth to the point of giving up.
It is worth noting that every jury in every courtroom in the country is told every day, “If the witness is shown to lie, you are to disregard all of their testimony.”
To resist, to restore at least a comfortable sanity to the national psyche, we must fight back and insist on the truth … at all times. In doing so, we must tell the truth, even when difficult. No, we will never get any traction with the hard-core, alt-right, so forget them. As Mark Twain opined, “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.”
A disturbingly large percentage of those who call themselves conservatives believe that higher education is not good for the country and a similar percentage, including the current leadership, profess to believe that climate change is a hoax. However, as Aldous Huxley said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
So, for those of us with a measurable IQ, if we tell the truth, practice the truth, expect the truth, which as Oscar Wilde said, “… is rarely pure and never simple,” our ship of state can be turned and escape these dark waters. This will not be easy. As George Orwell observed, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” This is a fight worth having. It is not hyperbole to say our very existence depends on it.
There is reason to hope. Investigations continue apace (BTW, I have contended for months that the underlying crime in this sordid business was and is money laundering, but I digress.)
As Gandhi said, “when I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall, Think of it … always.”
Or in the words of Samwise Gamgee, “There is some good left in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it is worth fighting for.”
Jim Nance leaves you with this:
“Fight the power” – Chuck D