Two powerful quotes

Two quotes. One from Carl Sandburg, the other from Samuel Clemens, or Mark Twain, as he is better known.

I was reminded this weekend of the quote from Sandburg in an editorial by Ned Barnett of the Raleigh News and Observer. The context for the editorial which included the quote, is the receved death threats toward Michael Gerhardt, an impeachment expert after he testified that Trump should be impeached.

Referencing the “histrionics of the Republican members,” Gerhardt cited Sandburg, “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

I have cited the Twain quote several times. It defines the difficulty in changing the impressions of Trump supporters. Twain said “It is easier to fool someone, than to convince them they have been fooled.” Sadly, this quote needs an addendum to update it for modern social media and biased news sources.

The addendum is “It is even harder when the person doing the fooling controls the sources of information of those fooled.”

Per Trump, the impeachment document is filled with “fake news.” As I have said countless times, the biggest purveyor of fake news in America is Donald J. Trump and it is not even close. Sadly, his sycophants are oblivious to this observation. As Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked for Trump for years, wrote before the election, “Donald Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.”

Think about this third quote as you ponder the more famous two.

Alleged Mark Twain quotes

Mark Twain is alleged to have said the following two quotes.

“It It is easier to fool people than convince them they have been fooled.”

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Whether he is the author is moot, as they sure sound like they came out of his brain or mouth. Twain was not just an author, he was a fabulous and witty orator.

These quotes resonate as it alarms me how too many people read, listen and watch pseudo-news that tell them what they want to hear or see. I fault these pseudo-news outlets, salivating readers and watchers and politicians such as the president who know they can be loose with the truth.

As someone who is fiscally conservative and socially progressive, I do not mind people being more conservative or liberal than I. What I do mind is people spouting arguments from sources known for spin-doctoring, misinformation and disinformation. We must get away from hyper-rationalization of untruthful or even bizarre statements made by their party. With a very untruthful president and his sycophants, the rationalization is rampant.

We must be the navigators of our customer service, which includes our news. We must look at multiple sources that do not spend so much time on nonsensical conspiracy theories and provide errata statements when they get it wrong. Another sure sign of less-than-aurhentic news is the glee in what is being presented or an opinion meant to flavor what we just heard.

We must be truthseekers. It is not an easy job. Yet, if we don’t do our part, we might prove Mark Twain correct.