You can’t handle the truth – Times News Online
We have access to more information, more sources of information, more views of friends and strangers than at any time in recorded history, but we don’t seem to come to a conclusion. consensus on what is true and what is not.
There are so many examples, but let me focus for now on just three of the most recent major events where the truth appears to be indisputable, yet millions of Americans deny its authenticity. Despite the devastation it has caused, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed 3.5 million lives worldwide, including 594,000 in the United States (27,300 in Pennsylvania). Yet millions of people believe it to be a hoax or exaggeration. The scientific community has conclusively proven that the COVID-19 virus and its variants have had a profound impact on almost every aspect of our lives for over a year.
In addition to poking fun at the scope of the virus, many of those same deniers questioned the value and safety of vaccines that were developed in record time and the wearing of masks and other safety recommendations to protect us from the COVID-19.
As the virus spread uncontrollably in 2020, one of the most controversial presidential elections in American history unfolded.
Donald Trump and his legion of supporters have never come to terms with the fact that he lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden despite assertion by election officials in every state, dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits challenging the results, confirmation by the state legislatures, US Congress approval, review after review, recount after recount. Even Trump’s Justice Department conducted its own investigation and found no widespread fraud. Yet without any plausible evidence, the relentless beating continues that the election has been stolen from Trump.
It will forever be known as “The Big Lie” because by all measurable accounts the election was fair and square, and Biden should be recognized by all Americans as the 46th President of the United States. That it isn’t by a large majority of Republicans and a few others brings us to the subject of this column – what is the truth?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines truth as “the real facts about something”. When the election results were confirmed to accepted standards, contested with an almost unanimous result in favor of the results and a conclusion of little or no fraud – certainly none to change the outcome of the election – to me that makes the statement “Joe Biden won the 2020 election” a fact.
This brings us to the other event, linked to the elections – the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill in Washington, which left five dead, 140 injured among police officers and a danger to the safety of the vice president (a Republican) and members of Congress summoned to certify the results of the Electoral College of 2020, which were verified by each state.
Many of these lawmakers feared for their lives as rioters stormed the building, pushed aside members of the Capitol and Metropolitan Police Force and chased but never found Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others.
More than 400 people, including 26 from Pennsylvania, have so far been charged by federal officials. More have been arrested from Pennsylvania than from any other state; in Pennsylvania, four residents of neighboring Bucks County were arrested, two from Lackawanna County and one from Luzerne. One of the dead had ties to Ringtown in Schuylkill County but was living in Bloomsburg at the time of his death.
Immediately after what many called an “insurgency,” there was near-unanimous condemnation of then-President Trump’s actions for encouraging the crowd to march to Capitol Hill and demand the cancellation of the legitimate results of the elections. elections. He was also criticized for not intervening after rioters stormed the building. Even Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy blamed Trump for his role on this dark day in our country’s history.
Now, however, the two have backed down from their original accusing positions. An effort to establish an independent 9/11-style commission (made up of five Democrats and five Republicans) to investigate the instigator of the riot and other key information has been scuttled by Senate Republicans, presumably because it could damage their chances in the midterm elections in 2022. and because it could anger Trump, who still leads the party and who is quick to take revenge on those who cross him.
The truth is, Trump supporters were at the heart of the Capitol Riot, but now revisionists are trying to sell the idea that it was Democrats, antifa (a political movement of autonomous groups opposed to fascism and anti-fascism. other forms of far-right ideology) or others posing as Trump supporters who were the troublemakers.
When we can’t even agree on what is obviously the truth, how are we going to make progress on the major issues we all face?
Our growing skepticism about the value of expertise and our view that we know more than experts diminish the value of the findings of health professionals, teachers, scientists, etc.
This is laid out in chilling detail in Tom Nichols’ bestselling book, “The Death of Expertise”. “The increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated audience, has instead created an army of uninformed and angry citizens who speak out against intellectual achievement,” writes Nichols. He warns about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the information age.
I wonder if the words that Jack Nicholson shouted at Tom Cruise in the (1992) movie “A Few Good Men” have become prophetic. When Cruise demands the truth, Nicholson replies, “You cannot handle the truth. Is this what is happening with so many people in our country?
By Bruce Frassinelli | [email protected]
The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.