Truth Telling in American Presidential Politics
This presidential election season is highly unusual, particularly when it comes to the issue of truth telling. As a matter of fact, in many ways, it is historic as well as horrific!
Trying to nail down the “truth” in the camps of the presidential candidates requires an awareness of our political system that many Americans do not possess. No, I’m not saying that Americans are stupid. “Uninformed” is more like it.
The lack of American civic education is at crisis levels. Most Americans have an “idealistic” understanding of the nature of politics and governance. This idealism often undermines their ability to see reality as it truly is in governing a nation.
Politics is the art of persuasion. The art of persuasion sometimes engages the use of exaggeration and embellishment tactics to gain a political advantage. And truth telling often gets bruised and battered in the process.
Moreover, the American K-16 educational experience does not systemically educate the American people to become inquiring truth seekers or intuitive crap detectives. Study after study continues to corroborate this fact.
As a matter of fact, a recent study polling college graduates discovered that almost 10% of them believed that T.V. Judge Judy actually sat on the Supreme Court! And these were college graduates!!
Truth Telling and Information Literacy…
A real truth seeker is a problem solver, one who practices information literacy – the ability to find, analyze, evaluate and communicate information effectively. America’s diverse 24 hour news cycle only compounds the need for vetted, factual information. There is way too much reliance on social media, hearsay, and partisan opinions.
A Washington Post 2016 article on Donald Trump provides another excellent example. Using a Pinocchio fact checker point system, this Washington Post article illustrates why information literacy practice trumps such politically tinged language tactics such as political correctness, double speak, misspoke, innuendos, and, of course, outright lies.
Documented facts, not fiction, solve social, economic, and political problems. The concept of truth is really in the eyes of the beholder. Truth telling equates to the glass being either half full or half empty, all in how you view the issue.
That’s why it is so important and critical for every American to regularly engage in information literacy practice. Information literacy provides a definitive, insightful pathway for every concerned American to fully understand the vast array of informative solutions available to solve these very pressing, national problems.
Seeking the facts in politics may be a lot more effective in solving the ills of this nation than seeking the “truth”.
Facts are often indisputable, whereas the character of “truth” is always subject to who’s telling it!