Agree or disagree, truth really matters

Published 12:59 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Truth matters — writing it, speaking it, LIVING IT, matters. In fact, it matters so much the sacred texts of all religions mention it.

For example, the Bible says:

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

“A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.”

The Quran talks about truth this way:

“And, do not cloak (and confuse) the truth with falsehood. Do not suppress the truth knowingly.”

Buddhism says:

“And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter …”

And from Hindu texts:

“Speaking the truth is a good thing, but even better is speaking that which promotes the welfare of others.”

In the practice of yoga, (which is not a religion) truthfulness or Satya, is the second yama. (A yama is the attitude we have toward things and people outside ourselves.)

Satya is “the precept based on the understanding that honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, or government, and that deliberate deception, exaggerations, and mistruths harm others.”

A free press matters, too. It matters so much it gets a mention in the First Amendment.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

And America’s founders had something to say about a free press too.

“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of news writers who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.”

“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson.

Why am I writing about truth and a free press? It is because we seem to be losing our grasp on the important role truth plays in the health of our nation. We are sliding down a slippery slope when we start accepting that we can argue about facts or present “alternative facts” instead of provable truth.

That brings us to a free press. For years, I was a member of the press, and I am going on record saying from my own experience the majority working in the media are not “the most dishonest people on earth.”

They are not perfect, but the ones I know who work in both large and small media outlets, Michelle, and Michael and Scott and Tom to list a few, are honest and care deeply about keeping citizens informed. I might even describe them as somewhat idealistic. Of course, the reality of covering things like politics tempers idealism.

Right now, those trying to wade through the alternative facts to present us with accurate information are under attack. That should concern us. That should call us to action.

If you pay attention to what is going on in our country, there seems to be a push from the White House to discredit our free press, and even limit access to the president. That, my friends is dangerous.

And, this is not about being a Democrat or Republican, a conservative or liberal. This is about being an American concerned with the future of our nation.

Without a free press, without voices from all sides, without information about the truthfulness of what our leaders say and do, we hear only what certain people want us to hear. That opens a door we do not want to step through.

We might not always agree on certain issues. We might support different political parties. However, as Americans, we must agree on one thing, TRUTH MATTERS!


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.