It’s one of those screaming days in my head. I’m reading the Huffington Post online today and the news seems to indicate that Ann Romney “Loves the fact that there are single, working mothers”. She doesn’t. What she said, if you read it or listen to the clip is: “I love all kinds of people. I love single mothers that work. I love fathers that stay home and raise children… ” It’s not that she wants mothers to be single, poor, and working. She likes them as people — or acknowledges their existence or something like that. The Huffington Post seems to be saying that (once again), Mitt Romney’s out of touch with “the people” and look at his wife as proof. I get what they’re trying to do, and I give them credit for actually publishing/showing the actual clip. But seriously, why skew the headline to obscure the truth?
Further on down the page, there were two more articles: “Arpaio Doubles Down on Birther Charges” and “Darrell Issa: Obama Government Most Corrupt In History”. I didn’t read either of those articles because I don’t know or care who those people are, but they highlight more of the craziness out there. Does Mr. Arpaio actually believe that yelling something or stating it more than once makes something true? If it does, then I’m rich! I’m rich!. Sadly, that doesn’t work. Regardless of what Hitler said when talking about The Big Lie, the truth remains the truth, even if nobody believes it, even if everybody believes it. President Obama has already shown his birth certificate. It doesn’t matter that some tabloid says, “Bill Clinton knows Obama’s not a citizen”. It doesn’t matter that some people didn’t vote for him. The truth is that Obama has shown us the document and that he is the President. That’s all there is to it. Done. No matter how much you don’t like reality, it’s still reality. If volume equalled truth, then Rupert Murdoch would be the most truthful man in America. He’s not.
Next is “Darrell Issa: Obama Government Most Corrupt In History”. On what basis is that a fact? I don’t know all the details, but I think Caligula’s got Obama beat for “Most Corrupt in History!”. One could make the case that Hitler’s government was the most evil of all, but corrupt? Eh, it’s hard to know these things. How does Mr. Issa get away with saying these things? Isn’t that slander? Maybe the Huffington Post is trying to show how “out there” Issa is. Still, for every person that “gets” that, there are at least as many who believe it’s true because some politician (is that what he is?) says it’s true. If people are going to lead this country — or any other — they should — simply as a matter of course, tell the truth — not the half-truth, not the doctored truth, the spun truth, the upside down truth, or the soon to be true truth — but the actual truth, or as close as they can get to it. I know that statistics, like the unemployment rate, can be complicated, but then, you explain that “they can be read this way or that, but here’s what I see…”. I rue the day that someone invented “Spin Doctors”!
Further, opinion isn’t fact. It’s opinion. Couldn’t somebody just say, “In my opinion…” or “you can think what you want, but I think…”? And, wouldn’t it be nice if the press used the whole quote, including the “opinion” part? Blurring the difference between opinion and fact only keeps us stuck arguing about reality, instead of doing something. It increases our cynicism because we don’t know what’s going on. For example, if Al Gore’s right that earth is warming and we’re all going to be underwater if we don’t make changes, shouldn’t we act on that? I don’t want to find out that some person in the media only thought Gore was wrong as the water rises into my house.
If you meet me on the street and ask me a question (barring confidentiality, of course), I’ll give you an answer. Generally, it’ll either be true or it’ll be my opinion. If it’s my opinion, I’ll tell you that. If it’s not my opinion, it’s the truth as I know it. It makes life sooo much easier. I don’t care about post-modernism or “relative” truth. We used to call that “opinion”. Even if we thought it was weighted opinion, it was still opinion. If we listen long enough and open our minds, we can hear the difference between “he said, she said” and the truth of the events. I’m willing to hear opinions and put them together toward what I think is the truth. I do it all the time, but I do so knowing I might be wrong and can re-visit the whole thing.
It just seems to me that we don’t hold the truth as valuable anymore, that we like to believe what what we like to believe regardless of the facts. And I think it’s going to kill us in the long-run. “But”, as Dennis Miller used to say, “that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong”.