We cannot let lies be repeated without correction

From Where I Sit ... By Avis Anderson
Thursday, May 5, 2022
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How do you tell the difference between a lie and the truth? Who do you trust to tell the truth? Looking around our world, the lies seem to be growing and taking on the appearance of truth to many people who seem to prefer the lie. Those spreading the lies speak louder and longer and with persistence. Some are even questioning if democracy is the type of government we want to live under. By the constant repetition of multiple falsehoods, people are beginning to believe the lies.

One reason for this situation is that people in positions of power are no longer being held accountable for what they say and do. There will no longer be a presidential debate in this country because one party does not want journalists to ask the questions. Our Montana U.S. Representative and the candidate for the new U.S. Representative positions won’t debate even within their own party primary. The word from those in power is to keep up the lie and do not participate where you may be held accountable. Whatever happened to being able to explain the reasons for doing what we do and explaining why we believe what we do. People are given a bye for some reason and then the public wonders why politicians, when caught in their lies, will not even admit to wrong doing. But do we even care? The problem is defining what is true and whom do we trust.

Slowly, whole segments of history are being destroyed by tilting the truth. Twice the country of Poland has disappeared off the map of Europe with the hope the Polish people and their culture would be absorbed and cease to exist. Putin is attempting this in Ukraine by telling the Russian people (who have no other sources of information) the Ukrainians are not a people or a culture, they are actually Russians who have been nazified. There are people in power in our country who support that fascism: Putin and Viktor Orban of Hungary and other dictators. A recent book on World War II in Eastern Europe tells of 14 million people who were slaughtered not through war, but through executions. Actions by Stalin and Hitler were to promote “the big lie” by destroying any group of people who could become troublemakers and contradict the fascist lies they were spreading. In our own country there is a strong movement to re-write aspects of our history that white supremacists do not like. Historians work tirelessly to find the truth and let us know what really happened, so we can make sure these things do not repeat themselves. “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”

When did someone who is different than I am become someone to fear? We once prided ourselves on being a multi-cultural nation. Cultures are like an Irish stew, they spread their flavor throughout the soup creating a tasty dish. Different is not wrong, it is just different.

If falsehoods are repeated over and over without correction, they will eventually become the truth. That is why I believe so strongly in demanding accountability from everyone in power. Truth leads to trust which maintains freedom. When dictators begin moving toward absolute power their first move is to destroy a free and balanced press.

Avis R. Anderson is a retired member of the Glendive community.