I’ve been thinking a lot about “truth” and it’s relationship to facts and perspective this political season. This is a conversation I have with myself a lot:
“How could that person say that horrible thing on Facebook about Clinton?”
“Because everyone else says horrible things about their candidate.”
“But the horrible things people say about their candidate are true!”
“So are the things they’re saying about Clinton. Mean, but based in truth.”
Here’s an example: Someone referred to Clinton as “Killary” on Facebook because she “supports abortion.” And you know what? If you are looking at it from the perspective of a Pro Life person, then that’s true. But my perspective is different. She does not want women to have abortions, she wants women to have the right to choose along with the counsel of a medical professional. In a perfect world, every pregnancy is wanted and every pregnant Mom is healthy, but that doesn’t always work. And so Hillary wants that choice to stay in the hands of the woman. They say “Killary supports abortion” – I say “Clinton believes in reproductive rights.” They’re both based on facts, and therefore based in truth. Neither of them are “lies” in the strictest sense of the word. But holy crap, one of them REALLY upsets me.
(Sidenote: I have seen a LOT of trash talk towards Clinton as it relates to her stance on abortion. It’s at those moments that I’m glad not everyone reads my blog and therefore remains unaware of my thoughts/experiences in that area. Someone I know a few weeks ago went so far on FB as to say Clinton can NOT care about children if she supports abortion and I almost replied, “Well, you have always thought I do a good job with my kids and I’ve actually had one, so what do you think about me?” I’m telling y’all, it’s a good thing this election is coming to a close before I get kicked out of the state and possibly parts of my family.)
ANYWAY. So you see? Facts/Truth/Perspective are all intertwined so we end up with these arguments between two sides that are impossible to win as they’re both saying VERY contrasting things but still based in a truth and wrapped up in a perspective.
In other words? Arguments you can never win.
Here’s another example: Taxes. If you’re anti-Trump you look at his lack of paying taxes as a bad thing. But pro-Trump people can easily brush it off by saying, “But that was before he was planning on running for president.” Or, “He was smartly taking advantage of the tax code,” or “BECAUSE HE LOST MONEY! That’s how we encourage entrepreneurship, we offer a safety net in the tax code of they fail!”
See? All true. Essentially. And impossible to argue with.
Trump supporters think Clinton is a liar. And depending on how you look at the word “lie” they’re right. She is a politician and has been for decades and therefore had changed her position on things. Clinton supporter say Trump is a liar. But his supporters don’t care because his lies are just proof he’s not a part of this political system they believe works against them.
You just can’t argue with perspective as it shapes a truth. There are a few things you can argue with, I’ve Snopes-ed a few people, but truthfully? It doesn’t matter. There are simply minds you can not change because their truth can be argued with facts. Sometimes even the SAME facts YOU are using, just twisted around from a new perspective.
I fell down a wormhole recently when a distant relative referenced the Clintons’ “trail of body bags” and there are VERY POPULAR conspiracy theories out there that are based on REAL things that happened and therefore can make the believers feel very good about their support. (Here’s a good Snopes article about it, which is INSANE because I had never heard of this but it’s DECADES old.) The day I fell into the Conspiracy Theory wormhole is the day I stopped worrying about changing minds. I’m just going to keep posting my supportive views like I always have (I’ve never been much for the “Bash the Other Guy” method of persuasion) but I’m trying to really understand the notion that perspective really changes how facts and truth are viewed.
Did you know there’s even a perspective that is 100% against fact-checking? And really, I kinda get it. I keep a LOT of sources handy when I’m checking up on the truth of something. If I find a statement really concerning I’ll spend hours reading arguments and fact-checking around that statement. There are just so many ways to shift the phrasing of truths and framing them in different perspectives and suddenly you’re looking at a Pro/Con argument where both sides are based on the EXACT SAME FACT.
And this is not something you’re aware of if you live in a political bubble. If you are not exposed to contrary voices, you do not see this. But I’ve seen it time and time again. Especially in regards to Trumps taxes. No one who supports Trump sees the facts surrounding his Taxes as negative. So two people can honestly argue a Pro/Con Trump stance using the SAME FACTS.
I actually met resistance against this article because the one bashing liberals was actually “true” while the other one was not. One person argued, “I see your point, but you didn’t choose the best memes to compare because one is just RIDICULOUS while the other is essentially true.”
And there’s no point in debating. Yes, I’m offended by the jump from “Supports Gun Control” to “Against the Right To Own Weapons For Self Defense”. But the other guy? (Who, for the record, was a complete stranger commenting on a public Facebook post.) The other guy thought that jump was minor and therefore meant the second statement was “essentially true.”
There’s liberation in letting go, and recognizing the futility in many areas is important and I’ve felt a little more free lately just not even considering engaging. I’ll post support for my person like I always have, and I’ll leave the arguing up to people who have more time to kill in their days.