Anyone who has ever witnessed a courtroom trial is familiar with the question: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” It is the oath a witness is sworn to take before being asked to testify. Discovering “the truth,” after all, is the basic goal of our judicial system. If a witness, under oath, lies to the court, they can be found guilty of perjury and sentenced to jail time. “The truth” reigns supreme inside the halls of justice.
But outside the courthouse? “The truth” has come under serious assault.
Thanks to the candidacy of Donald Trump, “ the truth” no longer has the primacy it once had. Thanks to fake news sources and the increasing popularity of social media such as Facebook, “the truth” is whatever a writer wants it to be.
One would think that in the age of the Internet and Google, “the truth” would be such an easy thing to ascertain. But as we are seeing, many Americans are too lazy to do their homework. It is much easier to believe a favored politician, or “news source,” than to do some fact-checking of one’s own.
Just yesterday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed at a Broadway play. The cast of the hit musical Hamilton asked Pence, who was sitting in the audience of their show, to make sure both he and Trump safeguard their constitutional rights.
As soon as Trump got wind of the situation, he immediately took to his bully pulpit, otherwise known as Twitter, and condemned the cast for their “rude” speech:
“Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!”
“The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
Now if someone were to take Trump’s words as “true,” without reading what was actually said, they might come away thinking a Broadway theater is no place to attack an incoming vice president. They would rightly be angry with those liberal performers for embarrassing the “good man.”
But if those Trump believers were to dig into the situation just a little, they would see a completely different picture. Here is what was actually said to Pence … a far cry from “rude” speech:
“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ ”
“We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. We hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us.”
We are truly entering dangerous times if “the truth” is only respected and revered in a court of law under penalty of perjury.
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