Tuesday, July 4, 2017


What I know about telling a lie is that it will come back to haunt you eventually. And once someone has lied to me they can be guaranteed  I will never really trust anything they ever tell me again. Perhaps that sounds too unforgiving. It's very easy to lose trust and yet very difficult to get it back.

Friend Donna who lives in rural Minnesota submitted the following editorial to her regional local county newspaper about lies. 

"Starting from when I was in grade school, every weekday night my father and I would read the Minneapolis Tribune together and watch the nightly news, both national and local. This quality time is one of my most cherished memories. 
After taking in the news we would discuss the highlights. My father let me know I was expected to have an informed opinion and defend that opinion in a rational way. 
I joke that many people who know me today wish he had raised me differently! But here I am.
I still remember some of our discussions: The botched execution of Ethel Rosenberg; thalidomide babies and abortion; the Eichmann trial and death sentence; the Algerians overthrowing French colonial rule and how De Gaulle ordered the removal of even the telegraph wires and poles from Algeria, to which my father responded, "Jeeze, De Gaulle, you cheap tightwad!"
All my life I have maintained the effort to learn what was happening in the world. And I respect the people who work to make this knowledge possible— reporters and journalists.  Sometimes these reporters got it wrong, like the early Gulf of Tonkin reporting that led to our escalation in Viet Nam. Or the reports of Saddam Hussain's weapons of mass destruction or his supposed connection to 9-11 justifying the  invasion of Iraq. 
Yet it was other reporters who struggled to correct the lies and disinformation and some of them lost their lives to bring the truth.
That is why, today, I do not understand the outright gleeful disparagement of journalists and the news. People are acting as if it is so much fun to lie. So much fun to threaten to hurt—or actually hurt—reporters. People delight in this. Maybe this is easier than putting in the time and effort to try to learn the truth. So much easier not to have to defend an opinion in a rational way. 
Decades ago I knew a man who everyone knew to be a pathological liar. He lied even when it didn't help him in any way, except to maybe feel superior to those he lied to. This man killed himself when he was in his thirties. A few days prior to suicide he went to his estranged wife to apologize for how all his lies had hurt her.  Apparently, he had hurt himself, too. He told his wife he could no longer distinguish what actually had happened in his life and what was just another lie. "I have lost my life already," he lamented.
I fear that we as a people are losing our lives. We have always struggled with the truth—about slavery, wars, poverty, environmental destruction. At least we had struggled. Nowadays it seems we delight in lies, even when lies don't help us except to make us feel superior to those we lie to.
On a mountain pass in the state of Maryland there is a monument dedicated to all the journalists who lost their lives around the world trying to report the truth. I don't think most of these men and women thought the search for truth was just a big joke."
Donna B.

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