Someone says something. You disagree. You yell: “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Now what?
If you want to have a conversation with the person you just yelled at, you probably shouldn’t have yelled. If you don’t care one way or another, keep yelling. Don’t have a discussion. Vent. Get nothing done.
Consider a “do over.” Someone says something. You disagree, but you don’t yell at them. You ask: “Why do you believe that? What facts do you have to back up your statement?”
Two things will happen. You will have a consequential discussion with the person who holds an opinion contrary to yours, or your well-intentioned questions will result in nonanswers based on absolutely nothing but opinion, fabrications or out-and-out lies.
Today, we are inundated with yelling and lying and the opinions of pundits from all sides of the political spectrum. Far too little rational dialog materializes from the constant partisan backbiting. No one can hear through the uproar and vitriolic word spewing.
To all of this, I say, “Hold your horses,” one of my mother’s favorite phrases. There are lies and there is the truth. If you want to believe a lie, go right ahead, but a lie is still a lie, and everyone absolutely knows it is a lie. Parse the words any which way you like, mister or miss spokesperson, but you are lying.
Delude yourself if you wish. Hold on to that job of yours. Make that money. Sell out your principles and trade your soul to whomever, but that doesn’t make what you are saying true. A lie is a lie is a lie.
Everyone has opinions. Fine, but one cannot look at the actions and words of individuals and claim those individuals did or said quite the opposite. You, spokesperson, are lying. Plain and simple.
I can’t examine a liar’s mind. They can lie for a variety of reasons that everyone knows and understands perfectly well. You know, your garden variety excuses like I want more money and/or power; I want to keep my job; I am heartless; I am delusional; I’m following orders; I am a coward; I have no principles; I don’t know my ear from my elbow; I don’t or didn’t know the facts, and I didn’t bother to find out; I don’t care that I am lying; and I am a gutless wonder. Take your pick. Fool yourself. A lie is still a lie.
This lying “stuff” can be applied on the world, national, state and local levels. There is no monopoly on lying. The difficult and challenging part is to seek truth, for it does exist. Don’t simply call everyone a liar and leave it at that. I know, you say, you don’t have the time or the patience for truth finding, but it exists. Truth is crucial. Values matter. Facts matter. We can find truth if we take the time to look for it.
Now, for any who wish to remain in a fog, so be it. Continue to yell and remain misinformed, groping through the fog. But be aware that groping through the fog could cause damage, in some cases, serious, irreparable damage. I don’t want to be a groper, and you can take that any which way you’d like.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with all the lies, I want to scream and just shake the liar, just like the nuns in my grade school did when they held back and didn’t want to whack a student who lied or misbehaved in some outrageous manner.
There’s no way I can go around shaking or whacking liars, so I search for the truth. It takes time, but via the internet, a fraction of the time it took when I used the encyclopedia.
As I sat down to finish this commentary, I came across a tongue-in-cheek-article from The Space Academy titled “Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans,” dated April 24, 2019. The article ended by stating that perhaps these humans might “become more receptive to facts once they are in an environment without food, water, or oxygen.”
As my mother used to say: “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-339-9082.