In the search for truth, the truth is: Truth is often hidden between black and white, somewhere in a gray shade.
Truth crept through my mind a couple weeks ago, during a visit to my mother in Illinois. Someone had given her a copy of George Washington: A Life, a highly-praised biography Ron Chernow published in 2010.
On the 779-mile drive back to the Red River Valley, I used Chernow’s book as a conduit to pondering on truth, since we all know El Presidente Numero Uno could not tell a lie. Right?
I think most of us born before the 21st century remember the story about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, and how he owned up to the deed when confronted by Papa Washington.
“I can not tell a lie,” young Georgie reportedly said. “I chopped down the cherry tree.”
Our teachers and parents, even strangers on the street, would fall back on the George and the cherry tree story to illustrate the importance of telling the truth. Although, I’ve heard it said it was easier to tell the truth in Washington’s day, because there were no income tax forms to fill out.
I’ve also heard and read — including in Chernow’s book — the entire cherry tree incident is bogus. In fact, a preponderance of evidence indicates young Washington never chopped down a cherry tree and uttered the words “I can not tell a lie,” anymore then he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River when he was a young man. (Pssst! The Potomac’s over a mile wide, and there were no silver dollars in Washington’s lifetime.)
So, was the “truth” of our childhood really a lie? Probably so. Does that diminish the importance of the object lesson? Probably not.
Fact or fiction, the cherry tree story supports the theory that “truth” can be fluid. “Truth” is essential to the human experience — it’s just that “truth” often has to be distilled through gray tones of impression, interpretation and ambiguity.
In our justice system, witnesses must swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Still, almost every time a witness starts to testify and give the truth, some lawyer will object.
That’s because a court trial is a place you can see truth in action. Most witnesses do not come to court to lie, they merely present the “truth” from their own interpretation. That’s why two witnesses can testify about the same incident, but their testimony is diametrically opposed.
It’s up to lawyers, juries and judges to find where truth lies in the testimony presented.
There are times withholding the truth is necessary in maintaining friendships. If a female friend asks for your opinion of a new hairdo, sometimes it’s better to withhold the truth than to answer honestly.
Truth is often violated by silence, but it can be equally outraged by silence. So, most of us will say, “Your hair looks great,” even if the truth is her hair looks like a bramble bush.
There are times when the truth hurts, especially when you step on a scale or catch a glimpse of your face in the mirror in the morning.
I remember getting together with a group of friends who shared coffee breaks. It was a round table of wisdom, at which most of the problems of the town, county, state, country and universe were solved.
There was one fellow who would begin lecturing ... er, informing us of his opinion, and when he got wound up, eventually he’d repeatedly utter the phrase, “Trust me, I’m going to tell you the truth.”
It made me wonder what he’d been telling us five minutes before.
Anyway, determining truth is a life-time search; a winding journey that, hopefully, ends in honesty.
As you continue the search, here are a few adages that may help you recognize truth when it slaps you in the face:
n Truth needs no crutches — if it limps, it’s a lie.
n To hear truth and not accept it does not nullify it.
n The truth is one thing for which there are no known substitutes.
n Listen to those who seek the truth; be wary of those who try to convince you they’ve found it.
n Some people have a reverence for the truth. They always keep a respectable distance from it.
n Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.
And that’s the truth.
580-255-5354, Ext. 172
Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”
Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.
Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again
Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.
Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan
As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.
Boys can still be boys
You know, the past was seldom as blissful as viewing it through the eyewear of nostalgia makes us believe.
That said, though, I do believe being a young boy in the 1950s and ‘60s — and probably further back than that — was more fun than it is today.
Local film festival deserves applause
A highlight of the January calendar will take center stage Jan. 24 and Jan. 25 when the Trail Dance Film Festival showcases up-and-coming filmmakers and their work.
Nearly 100 features will be shown on screens at the L.B. and Ola Simmons Community Activities Center and the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center.
Fair & Expo work a sound decision
The alarm seems positive. Duncan’s Stephens County Fair & Expo Center, host to a full schedule of activities year round as one of the state’s most active and successful agri-tourism facilities, appears to be a victim of its own success.
Companies don’t pay taxes, consumers pay their taxes
It goes without saying that Oklahoma as a state is very dependent on the energy sector. The oil and gas business provides thousands of jobs across the state. There is a great deal of drilling and exploration in Oklahoma. Part of the reason is because the state legislature lowered the tax on horizontal drilling to one percent from seven percent to encourage more drilling in the state. The reduction is set to expire in July 2015.
Oklahoma State Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, (R-Lawton) has announced that he will introduce legislation in the upcoming session to make the one percent tax permanent in order to continue to encourage drilling.
PPCA — 6 Million registrants and counting
While the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act had its problems with both the framing of the ACT, and ongoing daily, weekly opposition to it by a segment of our elected officials and citizens, it is an established law. As with Massachusetts’ healthcare law, the ACA is gaining wider participation each day.
An example of this was the participation at the healthcare.gov web site from a few thousand on October 1, 2013 to 2 plus Million on Monday, December 23, 2013.
6 Million Citizens have obtained healthcare coverage through state or federal insurance marketplaces (exchanges) and Medicaid Expansion since the beginning of sign-ups on October 1, 2013. Of this number, 2.1 Million have obtained private health insurance through the marketplaces while 3.9 plus Million have been found eligible for Medicaid. If
Republican Governors and Legislators in half of the United States had expanded their Medicaid programs, that 3.9 Million figure would now total 8.7 Million insured Americans.
Obsessed parents can turn ‘Dream’ into nightmare
When it comes to youngsters being interested in athletics, “The Dream” can be a good thing — a motivation, a driving force for excellence and achievement.
But when parents become consumed by turning their child’s dream into their own, “The Dream” can turn into “The Nightmare.”
Here’s a true story.
Dorman a likely candidate
Joe Dorman, who for the past 11 years has represented District 65 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives that includes the northernmost tip of Stephens County, is serious about seeking the governor’s job.
He knows running against an incumbent is a challenge.
He realizes a lot of money must be raised to conduct a reputable campaign.
He understands a strong economy might prompt many to assume all is well in the Sooner state.
- More Opinion Headlines
- Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”