As pro-lifers and John Paul II conservatives, the inclination here, when it comes to politics, is obvious. We would never support a pro-abortion candidate, nor one in favor of homosexual marriage, degradation of Creation, gross materialism, anything like transgenderism, or genetic manipulation.
That said, our question: where these days do we find the truth when it comes to the news and just about anything else in our society? Where, no matter our inclinations, do we go to make honest determinations?
It seems to have disappeared, the truth. Some items:
Is Hillary really ill? A felon? Or a witch? Brain damage? Is Trump really bankrupt, a philanderer, and corrupt? Are vitamins healthy or not? Do peanuts cure us or make us ill?
From science to theology, the truth has been muddled in the name of bloodsport, and we all know who the prince of confusion — the great deceiver (and the one who divides us) — is. What a time he is having!
But let’s hover for the moment on politics, since it is at an intensity not seen since Kennedy debated Nixon. It shows a nation on the cusp of upheaval, a sign of the times. (We are interested in such “signs.”)
An interesting election year this is, and potentially dangerous — for various reasons.
There is the “fog of war” coming from both sides.
Day after day prevarications and half-truths and tremendous hyperbole are presented in speeches, TV ads, and across social media.
The dearth of truth is historic: Politicians are now comfortable in bold-faced half-truths (or worse), no matter how obvious. And no matter what a candidate does (or has done), if someone is in favor of that candidate, he or she wants to know nothing else.
The truth is lost in the shuffle.
Folks believe what they want. Harshness is the font of modern communication.
The truth is in danger of extinction. And since God is truth, when truth is gone, so is He.
Way back in journalism school, as a cub reporter (think: Underwood typewriters), we were trained to consciously set aside any preconceptions, emotions, or biases when sitting down to write a news story and present both sides fifty-fifty — smack down the middle, without fear or favor. I know reporters used to do this. It was a golden rule. If there were not an equal number of quotes and arguments from both sides, a story was bounced back to you by the city editor (or, gulp, spiked by the managing editor).
You always sought both sides, no matter how you felt. You tried to be “fair and balanced” for real (back then, it wasn’t just a slogan).
Surfing for news, there is no longer any real (“go to” news sources — one that can be relied upon completely to present just the facts, ma’am. It is a twisted age. Everything is an editorial (or diatribe).
This goes for both sides.
We can’t even find out if an attacker who slashed the throat of a man in Roanoke, Virginia, (perhaps trying to behead him) was a terrorist. (He almost certainly was.) There is even bias in whether a person is a terrorist!
“Donald Trump may or may not fix his campaign, and Hillary Clinton may or may not become the first female president,” noted a columnist for The New York Post this week. “But something else happening before our eyes is almost as important: the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it.”
The largest broadcast networks — CBS, NBC, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, and ABC — and major newspapers like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post regularly jettison all pretense of fair play.
(Is Hillary ill or not? One might as well ask what really happened at Roswell.)
We all make mistakes. We all succumb, too often, to sloppy haste. We all have viewpoints we no longer bother to set aside.
But we need always to seek the facts from all possible credible sources, or stop pretending that we’re interested in reality.
Can we find the truth on billboards? Or magazines? Or advertisements? Or science journals (which are sponsored by corporations that often have a stake in a safety test)?
Often, even use of the word “natural” on food products is deceptive.
Do you look for the truth or only for what feeds your biases, your previous viewpoint, your inclination?
To God, it might matter. It is certainly important not to be harsh, deceptive, or to slander. As Exodus 18:21 says, the truth is with those who fear the Lord.
“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth,” says Exodus 34:6. (Are we?)
What one should seek is simply the facts, ma’am, and nothing but the facts, for facts are truth and it’s the truth that sets us — and keeps a nation — free.