During our formative years, as we are being acculturated through education and family experiences, we are taught about the difference between the truth and a lie. In school we are taught the glorious history of the founding of our country and the heroism that made it possible. Of course the “facts” of history are in the hands of those who write it and tell it. Just as three eyewitnesses to a crime will provide three, sometimes conflicting, accounts of the same incident, so it is with the “facts” that comprise our history. It is therefore very difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, and truth from lies when viewing history. However, when viewing recent events, those that we have the opportunity to experience in real time, distinguishing fact from fiction, truth from lies, is considerably easier. While there may be varying interpretations of an event, the objective facts are visible. Yet the Republican candidates and leadership continue to say things that are clearly untrue without regard to the facts.
The blatant disregard for the truth that the GOP has exhibited is astounding. It is not difficult to pinpoint the lies. Whether the issue is immigration, gun control, pay equity, voter suppression, minimum wage increases, health care, marriage equality or a host of foreign policy issues, listening to them is like being Alice In Wonderland looking through the looking glass. When the facts don’t fit they simply ignore them or, even worse, they manipulate them or make up their own facts to fit their narrative. We have all heard that the word history when broken into two words is “his story”. That is why the history that we learn in school requires more than just a cursory review. However, current events must not meet the same fate as history. Fact must be gleaned from the mass of information and misinformation. However, to do that we must be well informed, well read and engaged in the issues our nation and the world are confronting. Jefferson observed that in order for democracy to succeed there must exist an informed electorate. He understood that most of us do not have the luxury of focusing on the issues of the day to the exclusion of our own personal issues. It is a fact that despite the myriad methods and mediums available to us to receive the news of the day, we are an incredibly ill-informed electorate. Sadly, many of those who do make an effort to be informed tune into either Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, etc. Thus, while they think that they are getting the unvarnished facts, they, in fact, are getting an incredibly lopsided version of the truth, a version that has been shown to be lacking truth on a regular basis by neutral and objective observers. The tragedy is that these people vote on the basis of this misinformation.
That’s the problem, now what is the solution? Frankly, it is time to take the gloves off. The Democrats have been incredibly weak at challenging the untruths and outright lies of the Republicans. We have seen too often the results of this “Swiftboating” technique that the GOP has used often and to great success. The facts don’t lie and they are not a part of history left open to interpretation. They are contemperaneous and we must hold those facts up for all to see in as many venues and outlets as possible. This isn’t the time for debate. Not when untruths are put out there as if they are facts. This is the time to yell loudly and use every outlet at our disposal to expose the lies and spread the truth.
The GOP has depended on and actively promoted the ignorance of the electorate through the use of right wing media such as Fox News. They really want us to believe that up is down and in is out. Their policies, while claiming to support the needs of the middle class, are clearly directed at the perpetuation of the wealthy. While they talk about the need to protect constitutional rights, they do everything they can to restrict them and interpret them narrowly. While they talk about the need for peace and stability in the world, they are always too ready to commit the lives of our young to die at war. It is time to call them out on all of this and expose the true face of the GOP.