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Separating truth from fiction

To the Editor:

An early lesson that a child hears is “tell the truth” and “honesty is the best policy.” When siblings or playmates fight the adult in the room usually figures out where the truth lies. Most of the time, facts become apparent as the situation becomes clear. 

So where have those honest children and adults in the room gone? What has happened to the children that were raised to tell the truth? We are hearing stories, tall tales, elaborate storytelling, and creative writing with a new label called conspiracy theory. It seems this new story spinning has taken a giant leap into political life and explodes into social media, growing with shares and likes. And worse, it gets repeated over and over like a giant game of “telephone.” It is told so many times, gaslighting, by those that should be credible. What makes it even more frustrating is that the ignorant, vulnerable and weak critical thinkers turn into perpetuators of the lie.

There is no better conspiracy theory than the flat out lie circulating that China created Covid-19 on purpose to disrupt the world economy for their advantage or evil. Just last week, while shopping in Sylva, a storekeeper asked me if I thought this ridiculous tale is true. Obviously, she thought it true. There seems to be a need for a reliable clearing house, but trust of anyone, anything, any information has become suspect no matter the source. Certainly, our politicians, particularly the president, his cronies, hired help and followers, when the facts do not fit the desired narrative, resort to conspiracy theory. It is repeated, endorsed, and eventually the naive shopkeeper becomes victimized by this fabrication. 

A healthy dose of critical thinking and honesty would help all of us survive the critical life and safety risks that we face. The message to Mr. Trump needs to be just “tell the truth.” It certainly is a challenge for the president that has struggled with this concept.

Pam Krauss


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