The old charge from our Moms — “Do your homework!” — is especially essential today.
Simple. We’re living in a Post-Truth World. And it appears no holds are barred, no constraints used, no “wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap” reprimands.
People are empowered to make up their own truths, to tweet and meme and Snapchat and Instagram their fabrications out as if they were fact, without repercussions; to vlog outright and outrageous assertions; to spew venom on Facebook and even in radio and television ads.
And this 2020 political season proves it, going both ways.
√ Maine’s junior Congressman, one of very few Democrats who twice voted to dethrone Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and who voted against two of the three impeachment charges, is labeled as being Pelosi’s “puppet.” (Really?)
√ Maine’s senior Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose immediate family includes several elderly, is charged with wanting to destroy Medicare coverage for senior citizens. (Yeah, right!)
√ The President, known as Orange Man Bad, urged people to drink Clorox. (Believe this and you are truly a dope.)
By all appearances America has returned to the days of Yellow Journalism when newspaperman William Randolph Heart was able to even foment the Spanish-American War with lies and innuendo.
(“You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war,” Hearst wrote Frederic Remington when the famed illustrator told him all was quiet in Cuba and could he return home?)
And now, when the denizens of Twitter and Facebook have the power, without restriction (because it’s their business, right?) to completely shut down a news report on October 13 exposing the corruption of the presidential candidate they support… when YouTube can lawfully (again, because it’s a private business) cancel a video proclaiming an opinion with which YouTube luminaries disagree… when social-media “cancel culturists” can attack, shame and destroy an innocent person’s character… when 88-93 percent (depending on the survey) of the national media self-identify as liberal or progressive, what is a person to do to discover the unblemished truth?
In matters of theology, the answer is easy: Consult the Bible.
(Few may agree with me that after God and godliness, little else should matter, that politics should not be the be-all, end-all of our lives, that God is in control no matter what we think at any moment.)
But, what about other matters?
First, if possible, go to the original source. The Magna Carta, the U.S. Constitution, Uncle Lee’s letter home from the war front in Italy, whatever the source might be.
If the original source is unavailable go to the chronologically next-closest source. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, who drafted the Magna Carta. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine and John Adams penned a lot about what this. Are Uncle Lee or Aunt Ruth still alive, or their personal journals available?
In today’s world, so much information is at our fingertips on the internet. For instance, we can watch a video of what the President actually said about Clorox.
When original sources are not available, research a variety of news gatherers and figure out which ones are trustworthy. Don’t just read the sources you know you’re going to agree with.
Just as “if something sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t,” so also “if something sounds too stupid to be true, it usually isn’t.” And the truth lies somewhere in between. (Well, except when Mr. Biden said he was going to defeat Joe Biden and that he was running for the Senate.)
To repeat my point: Do your homework!