Our country is in such turmoil today. It breaks my heart to see such division between family members, friends, in our communities, and even in our churches. I see rudeness, hatred, lies, fear and prejudice all around me. Much of it is on social media, namely Facebook, but also in this newspaper.
Untruths are being shared on Facebook and twitter, then reposted and retweeted, or told by word of mouth and then retold until they are believed by those who have either forgotten how to think for themselves or don't know how to fact check these stories (or don't care to) in order to find out if they have any truth to them. Joseph Goebbel (Hitler's Minister of Propaganda) said "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as truth."
I was speaking to a friend after he read the Jan. 28th issue of this newspaper and he informed me of the things he read in the Letters To The Editor section, which he sincerely believed to be true. Apparently, he did not realize that he was reading the editorial page, even though the bold print at the top of the page clearly spelled OPINION. The propaganda in "Letters opened eyes" and "We know the score" so enraged my friend that he made the comment to me "Biden needs to be assassinated!"
Herein lies the inherent danger of spreading lies and masquerading them as facts. If we are to survive as a democracy; if we are to prove to the world that this experiment in self-governing can succeed, then we must learn to put our differences aside, pursue the truth, respect the Constitution, regain our sanity, and restore common sense and critical thinking.
We are Missourians. Our motto is (or was) "The Show Me State." I think it’s time to restore that motto in our minds. We need to start critiquing the stories we hear and actively search for the truth, speak of and share only what we have found to be true and leave the untruths behind.
We have many avenues open to us today to help us search for the truth. We can use the internet, newspapers, reputable news sites to try to get to the truth. We can also reach out on social media and speak to those who have actual experience with the stories that we are interested in learning more about and verifying. Check several sources and decide for yourself what is true and what is fiction. Don't believe everything you hear. Learn to think for yourself.
Our relationships, families, communities, and churches are at stake. Our country and democracy are at stake. Let us prove that this experiment of ruling ourselves as a democracy can work and survive. Abraham Lincoln said in 1858 that "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Bradford Vivian explained that "the metaphor of a house emphasizes interdependence, cooperation, and shared purpose. It asks how citizens might build and maintain something together despite natural differences."
My prayer is that all Americans can rise above the propaganda being spread and overcome the fear that is fueling the division in this country I love.