Saturday, October 12, 2013

There Is Only One Truth

There Is Only One Truth

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In my younger years, there was such a thing as truth. We all listened to the same news. If Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley said it, we accepted whatever it was as fact. If the scientific community vouched for a theory, we assumed they knew more about thermonuclear dynamics...or whatever...than we did. We didn't agree with all of our politicians, of course, but most us believed that they had the country's best interests at heart so that when the chips were down, after they'd fought the good fight, they'd come together in a compromise that moved the country forward.

I never doubted for a minute that Everett Dirksen and Howard Baker and Bob Michel, et al, were statesmen and patriots. Hell, I never even questioned Richard Nixon's innate patriotism. It was only his extreme methods that were unacceptable.

Unlike other countries that were informed by media that flat-out lied, like Pravda, we could mostly depend on our investigative journalists to bring us actual facts about actual events. Our mainstream media felt a responsibility to research and verification before printing a jaw-dropping and nefarious allegation.

Looking back, I guess it was the ever-increasing popularity of talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, in particular, that began the change. On-line bloggers pushed the process forward. And the advent of Fox News completed the triumvirate of "you have your truth and we have ours".

The reality is, of course, that there cannot be two truths. The truth stands alone.  If you are told two diametrically opposing stories, one of them is wrong. Either Barack Obama is a native-born American or he isn't. There isn't a conservative truth and a liberal truth. Either the polls showing Barack Obama consistently ahead in the 2012 election are right or the polls showing Mitt Romney winning in a landslide are right. Either climate change, driven by mankind, is a reality or it is a hoax on the part of a hoard of dishonest scientists.

But, today, it seems there are two completely different truths and it is up to every individual which one to believe. If you like one better than the other, you simply select the option you prefer. If it somehow makes you feel better to buy into a "truth", such as "Obama killed Breitbart, Clancy", hey, go for it. Don't worry about nonsense such as evidence. Don't concern yourself with whether a self-proclaimed ex-C.I.A. agent was really a C.I.A. agent. "That scenario plays into my world view about Obama, I choose to believe it." Yeah, just like you believed that Bill Clinton was a drug-dealer who had people killed and Hillary murdered Vince Foster. (Oddly enough, upstanding citizens that they are, Republicans never, ever play into these "your president is a killer" accusations).

If you think the 43rd time the Republicans vote to repeal Obamacare is somehow going to be the charm, there's nothing I can do to stop you. If you think your Jesus would approve of cutting food stamps and lowering the taxes on corporations, that's on you. If you think women who have sex and use birth control are sluts and prostitutes, that's your right. If you think the Affordable Care Act is somehow going to be the end of America as we know it and that there are Obama death squads roaming the U.S. and they'll be coming for your guns any minute now, so be it. Some of you might want to be a little more careful about what you post on Facebook though if you truly believe that the NSA is listening and the administration is out to get you.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously said, "every man is entitled to his own opinion but he isn't entitled to his own facts". That appears to be true in America no longer. Today, we all believe we are entitled to our own facts.

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