Just the facts, please

The trouble with being on snow clearing duty at home and at work is that in order to get it all done on time, the morning starts very early. Such was the case earlier this week, when the work day started at 4am.

While this winter has been great, any change in schedule effectively goofs up the next few days. After an early start on Tuesday, we dozed off quickly after supper only to wake up on the couch just past midnight.

Sometimes it is easy to go off to bed and other times, when wide awake, there is little use disrupting others trying to sleep. The hunt was on for something to watch until the mood to sleep returned. Flipping through numerous channels, we settled on Fox News with Glenn Beck who was doing a show about lying. He is entertaining enough so we watched.

Long story short, he offered up the idea that sometimes the public accepts a lie by hearing what they want to hear. Other times, citizens are deceived by an outright lie only to learn the truth days, weeks or months later.

As typically happens in the United States, Honest Abe, as President Lincoln was known, was held up as a virtuous politician long since departed. Fond reflections of people from the past often conveniently forget that times have changed and so too have expectations.

It could be argued that Lincoln would not have a hope of existing in today’s political climate where every waking moment is recorded and analyzed. As far as being honest, well that would hardly fly either.

We have believed for quite some time that many people have a problem with the truth. As Beck categorized it, many of us believe what we want to and have basically tricked ourselves into thinking everything can go on as it does. In the second category, where we citizens are misled and defrauded, there seems to be little in the way of accountability. Once in a while there will be repercussions, but often it remains business as usual. Why is that?

We have struggled with that question for years, long before that Glenn Beck show. As odd as it sounds, our 10-year-old daughter, Brooke, may have stumbled onto the answer. Talk about “out of the mouth of babes.”

We were talking one morning about a statement someone had made and I said it was completely inaccurate and false (which it was). But Brooke countered, “Dad, it’s her opinion.” I said again it was untrue, that the statement was based on a false premise. Brooke again said, “It’s her opinion.”

Are the majority of our troubles today based on that simple misunderstanding? Do we deceive ourselves by giving people an out of having an opinion, rather than insisting that facts play a role in decision making?