When you tell the truth

An old colleague of mine used to put little sayings on his voicemail introduction. One of my favorites of his is “Always tell the truth as you don’t have to remember as much.”

With campaign season starting much too early, this advice is not being followed too consistently. One candidate is all over the place and consistently altering his version of the truth. The one constant is his truth today varies from his truth yesterday and will vary from his truth tomorrow. The sad part is he is leading because his followers apparently do not pay attention to what he is saying, just how he says it.

Another candidate has trouble coming clean on issues. She is using the line in the sand defense, which means she has to keep redrawing the line. She does get some unfair scrutiny and mudslinging, but she should not be enabling it so much.

Then by subject matter, we have all kinds of mistruths. On the subject of climate change, one party has been either commanded to not tell the truth or do not realize they are being misled by their fossil fuel funders who employ very good PR people to create doubt.

Then, we have small or partial truths which are sensationalized and made into melodramatic presentations, which makes them untruthful. Obamacare is not as bad as it is made out to be and, while imperfect and complex, is working pretty well by several measures and sources.

Our problems and issues are complex and real, that embellishments are not necessary. We need more truthful commentary and less labeling which masks the lack of a good argument. Please demand the truth from politicians and each other. We need someone who can tell us what is going on and how they can help fix it. We are big boys and girls, we can handle the truth.

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18 thoughts on “When you tell the truth

  1. This is the real truth…but, I don’t think people like to deal with complexities. They like to deal with one-click solutions and anything else means that the solution is a failure. I’m not sure when we became so obsessed with simple solutions and minimizing the need to truly understand a situation as opposed to simply knowing some surface level descriptor (or worse, a one- or two-word euphemism), but it has become the norm. I try to teach my Argumentation and Debate classes that there are no easy answers and there is no such thing as a policy that comes without some disadvantages to someone, but that we need to strive for doing the least harm to achieve the best outcome for the most people, not only the people with the most money. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comments. I would love to be a fly on the wall in your class. There are very few simple answers and the impact needs to be evaluated and reevaluated. Sometimes, good decisions at the time may not pan out, so we need honest assessment to improve, give it more time or stop.

    • As I was reading your comment, I was thinking of the movie “Merchants of Doubt,” where the PR guy took such delight in causing pain to scientists who do their jobs without fanfare and then get death threats because of this jerk.

  2. Note to Readers: I was thinking this morning of some famous statements that were less than truthful. “I am not a crook,” said Richard Nixon. “We are not selling arms to Iran,” said Ronald Reagan. “Read my lips. No new taxes,” said George HW Bush. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” said Bill Clinton. “They have weapons of mass destruction,” said George W. Bush. “If you like your policy, you can keep your policy,” said Barack Obama.

    • Fighting who, where, what, how and how long? Those are the questions. Yet, diplomatic paths should be used whenever possible as the collaboration will pay greater dividends than bombing people without purpose. Trump wants to seize the oil from ISIS. How do you propose we do that and how will you get it out are questions to be asked. His trust me as I am smart will continue to wear thin.

      Who do you think showed well?

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