It is a legitimate question in an era in which the political objective is all consuming. No longer is it championing your ideology. Now it is replaced by, “How many people can we get to agree with us so we can “win”?
A corollary is, “what does it matter what is true as long as we get our way.”
At one time, the Judea-Christian Ethic required that one did not bear false witness.
When the philosophers rose up in the 17th to 20th century, the all consuming passion was to seek after truth.
When science began to gain a secure foothold, the desire was to seek after the facts no matter the consequence to firmly held beliefs.
Somehow, shockingly, we are now in the 21st century and all three precepts have been swept away by the politics of the possible.
In fact, the consequences from believing in a lie do not matter, as long as the cause is successful! Even science has fallen prey with conflicting statistics thrown from opposing sides as facts are manipulated.
In the face of this new reality – it seems that the only way to champion the truth is to appeal to the emotions, replacing rational thought with
the quicksand of passion.
It means anyone who wishes to obtain their goals, needs to be a snake-oil salesman, a smooth politician and an all around nice person (crocodile smile?).
Details are not important as long as we can appeal to the heart.
Last Fall, we ended up with proponents who were skilled in lying and deceiving; those who really cared about the city and knew the facts and were decent, good citizens; were horrified. Intimidation and threats to our elected city council and the mayor were at unprecedented levels. Those who were rational and not filled with hate – simply didn’t know how to respond.
It has hurt our city in that vital protections failed to be enacted – but it also has set new precedents.
In this coming election season – will we see this new ugly reality re-appear again or will we see a return to civility and truth telling?
I am afraid the former may face us again!