Truth or Consequences
For those of you who don’t remember, there was a game show that ran in the US from 1940-1988, first on radio and then on television, in which contestants who failed to answer certain questions truthfully were forced to face the consequences of their wrong answers. Back in the day, people took this seriously as an object lesson in truth versus lies and fact versus fiction.
Somehow, during the intervening years, we seem to have forgotten many of the lessons we learned from the Torah/Bible (“Thou shalt not bear false witness”), from historical figures like George Washington (admitting to having cut down the cherry tree), from fictional characters, like Peter and the Wolf (Peter having claimed once too often that the wolf was attacking, and finally being disbelieved by the townspeople who failed to rescue him during an actual wolf attack), and from Truth or Consequences.
So far have we distanced ourselves from the notion of telling the truth, that even when people make up outrageous lies or believe things that have been proven to be untrue – people who used to be involuntarily committed to mental health facilities – that we now accept and believe almost anything that we have been told without doing our homework.
Such is the case with numerous issues, both personal and public, that we have seen in the news and elsewhere, and the consequences have proven to be dangerous and occasionally deadly.
Case in point is that of Alex Jones’ consistent lies about the Sandy Hook school shootings. Alex Jones, as you may well know, is an unhinged individual who has his own show, Infowars, which is known for presenting issues without getting truthful information about them. What makes them so unhinged is that he cannot provide any proof or facts for his broadcasts, just providing basic misinformation to his already mentally compromised audience. The Sandy Hook shootings did actually take place, there were witnesses who survived to tell the truth, there were law enforcement officers and detectives who investigated what occurred and collected evidence and spoke to the witnesses, yet Alex Jones managed either to come to the conclusion that it was all faked, or, perhaps, decided to insert part of his personal parallel universe and tell a tall tale, only without taking the time to provide facts and evidence, relying only on his own speculation. As a result, many of the families whose children, sisters, brothers, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and friends were victims of the actual attack, were then, themselves, victimized by Jones’ fans. So much so, that Jones is now in debt to them to the tune of well over a billion dollars to recompense them for their pain and suffering. Not to mention the loss of those victims who were killed on that day. Lies have consequences.
Now, nearly two years after an attempted coup on the United States Government, and after a year plus of the January 6 Committee’s invocation and thorough investigation of the events leading up to the insurrection, House GQP members have decided to ignore the findings of the January 6 Committee and instead publish findings of their own. Not, as you may imagine, that they did all the research, interviews and fact-finding that the January 6 Committee was engaged in to get to the bottom of what happened that fateful day, but to ignore the findings altogether and to focus instead on the security of the Capitol police surrounding the Capitol building that day.
This is not to say that they don’t have a point. In this world, in this state of politics in the United States, there is a need for more security rather than less, but, honestly, no one could have surmised that such an event would have taken place in the United States in this day and age. I watched the violence unroll live on TV. I was at work and had the Yahoo! live coverage of the ballot certification running in one corner of my screen when all of a sudden people – not legislators, but non-legislative citizens -started surging into the building carrying homemade weapons, broom handles, baseball bats, etc. I saw the footage when the chamber full of legislators was apprised of what was taking place in the lobby and surrounding areas of the building, and when the Capitol police officers started to usher the legislators out of the chamber to safety. So don’t tell me it didn’t happen. I saw multiple interviews with legislators after the fact who were scared almost s**tless and who decried the events and the “president” who was responsible for it. And I saw, weeks later, interviews with those same legislators whose memories seem to have been wiped clean, who started minimizing that same event, saying that it could not possibly have been instigated by that same “president,” and that those insurrectionists were merely tourists. Of course tourists in the Capitol Building don’t usually destroy parts of the building, steal documents and equipment from legislators’ offices, relieve themselves on the floors; nor do they take selfies of themselves committing these heinous acts and then post them to social media, bragging about their illegal exploits.
So we are now watching Truth or Consequences again, and it is up to us to sift through a mountain of information and disinformation and arrive at the truth. Thus far, the January 6 Committee seems to be leading insofar as truth and facts and evidence are concerned, while the GQP portion of the legislature is once again engaged in deflecting and minimizing the facts. And it is up to us to follow the trail, discern truth from lies, and make sure the liars suffer the consequences: the consequences of their words and their actions and their cowardice in the face of the world’s, and our, least favorite “president.”
As the clock is ticking, and the days and weeks ease by toward the inauguration of a new Congress, and especially a new House of Representatives with a slight GQP margin, We, The People, must make our positions known to the legislature. We want truth. We want consequences. We want justice. We never again want a January 6 to happen in this country.
Write now to your legislators via e-mail or snail mail. Tell them how you feel. Make sure that the keepers of the truth prevail over their lying legislative counterparts, and have enough input from us so that those guilty of trying to destroy our government, or trying to cover up the intended destruction of our government, shrivel like salt-covered slugs.
If we don’t recognize the truth now, we will face the consequences in the future.
(c) 2022 mypoliticalself / SSchimek