Divided We Stand

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams

While John Adams was 100% correct there, it’s apparent that today’s political climate doesn’t subscribe to that rule. Both sides of the political aisle have their own set of facts to contradict each other. Adding to the problem is how nobody admits they’re wrong. In fact, to make it worse, many politicians are called out on their lies and instead of correcting themselves or apologizing, they’ll “double down” on them and continue the propagation.

Recently, I was watching one of the Sunday morning political shows. The host and the panel of guests were having a discussion about if truth matters in politics. They said we were living in a “Post-Truth World.” Please read that last sentence again.

“Post-Truth.”

Does truth matter? Do facts matter? The answer is YES.

I don’t get upset when someone that doesn’t share an opinion that I have expresses their view. However, I do get upset when their opinion is based on lies, misconceptions, or a lack of evidence. You can tell me that Ronald Reagan was a great president and I can give you many reasons why he was not. The reason I bring up Reagan specifically is that he is one of the most polarizing political figures of my lifetime, if not of all time.

Republicans, especially those on a National scale, will go on and on about the wonders of the Reagan economy. They say he shaped the future of the nation for the better. They’ll speak of how he freed the hostages from Iran. They’ll talk about how he lowered taxes. They’ll talk about he ended the Cold War. I’ll say Reagan set us back 50 years. I’ll say we’re still suffering from the fall out of his economy. I’ll say he had nothing to do with the hostages in Iran. I’ll say he raised taxes on the Middle Class multiple times. I’ll say he had very little to actually do with the end of the Cold War.

Who is right? Am I? Are they? I can show you article after article proving that I’m right. They can show me article after article proving they’re right. How is that possible? There can only be one truth.

Getting away from Reagan, I’ve noticed such an incredible divide amongst people on many forums online. There’s such an incredible amount of hatred, anger, and vitriol. CNN could post a story online about President Obama walking his dog and people will comment about how the President and his wife need to be deported back to their homeland. They’ll talk about how he’s a treasonous Muslim that secretly leads terrorist groups against America, because he obviously hates the country that he’s President of. The original article may not include a single word about a policy or action the President has taken, but those type of comments will be there.

I have seen pictures online of someone standing during a salute to the flag and not properly saluting. The caption is usually something about how disgusting it is that First Lady Michelle Obama could disrespect America that way. Here’s the problem with the picture I’m speaking of, and the reason I worded this paragraph as I did. The person in the picture was not Michelle Obama. And while that was proven to be a fact, it doesn’t stop people from posting the picture and it doesn’t stop people from commenting. The truth does not matter here. For further reference, click HERE to make your own judgment, although there is only one that can be made.

What I just described is very typical of what I see online. Over the past 20 years or so, we’ve seen the rise of cable news channels with different perspectives on politics. And also, the Internet has become the number one forum for people to get and spread information, and the problems that arise from that is the divide we’re seeing now. Political, ideological, and philosophical differences have always been prominent, but O don’t know if it’s ever been worse than it is now.

The leading Republican candidate for President of the United States at this time is someone that has fed off of the type of disgust, ignorance, and lack of education that I have been talking about. He’s leading the way and many studies have shown how his supporters are some of the least educated people this country has. I am purposely not mentioning his name here, because that would give him more publicity, and he does not need it.

He’s been called out on lie after lie after lie and he’s still leading the polls. And before anyone criticizes me about this and points out the leading candidate for the Democrat nomination is also a notorious liar, I’ll point out that I agree. However, that type of silly argument is not one of my favorites. I don’t like when someone says “Person A lied about this and that” only to have it sort of defended by “well, yeah, but Person B lies too.” That’s the entire point of this entry. TRUTH MATTERS.

I listen to Right Wing Conservative Republican talk radio. I listen to Left Wing Progressive talk radio. I read article and books from both sides. I want to know facts. I want to know truth. I do not justify someone lying by pointing out lies from someone else. A lie is a lie, but I don’t know how much it really matters today. Our political world is so divided that facts aren’t nearly as important as the myths or lies that created them.

While John Adams was correct about facts being stubborn, it was Ronald Reagan himself that once said “Facts are stupid things.” And the simple fact that so many people don’t bother to learn about issues and look at the substance of what’s really important is what is causing the divide we have today. I don’t know what catastrophe will be needed for people to learn, but when it comes to facts and truth, those are two things that do matter, and stubbornly, they always will.

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