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  • Writer's pictureSara Sharpe

Just the Facts, ma'am




Dear friend,


So now we come to the crux of the matter.


You might have noticed I’m not writing at the rate I once was. Honestly, I have felt discouraged to the point of paralysis. I’m committed to getting unstuck, but I’m not gonna lie and I'm sure you've noticed—internally and among the electorate, one must dig deep to find pockets of hope these days.


Personally, I’ve been discouraged by the sheer number of folks taking their cues from malicious bots, fear-mongering politicians, and mean-spirited talking heads on cable news and social media. In the same tone as the sneering cable news personalities, we now regularly malign those on opposite sides of the political divide, convinced, as we are, that members of the opposite party are, in general, uninformed, misguided, or, worst of all, wildly dishonest.


More than that, however, I find myself wondering—mostly in the middle of the night—how much we bridgebuilders can do in this post-truth America. Because not only are we now occupying opposite sides of a great divide, but by this point, we are living in different realities. This is bad. How bad? “Post-truth,” according to historian Timothy Snyder, “is pre-fascism.”


So, yeah. Bad.


Complicating things further is the fact that millions of U.S. citizens are too worn out by the hullabaloo to engage in politics at all." You can’t trust any of them," the thinking goes, so best to keep your head down and steer clear of the political circus one way or another. While understandable, this is a dangerous state of affairs. According to Lee McIntyre, author of Dark Ages and Post Truth,


“The post-truth playbook goes like this: attack the truth-tellers, lie about anything and everything, manufacture disinformation, encourage distrust and polarization, create confusion and cynicism, then claim that the truth is available only from the leader himself. The goal is not merely to get people to believe in a particular false claim but to so demoralize them with a tsunami of falsehoods that they begin to give up the idea that truth can be known at all...”

But here’s the thing, friend: if we care about Truth, the rule of law, and American Democracy, we cannot afford to be demoralized. Neither can we afford to be apolitical.


So, back to our divide. On the one side, President Biden and Anthony Fouci are criminals, the election was stolen, and the Justice Department, at President Biden’s request, is engaged in an illegal witch hunt intent on bringing down former President Donald J. Trump by any means necessary. And that’s just for starters.


On the other side of the divide, President Biden and Anthony Fauci are honorable, respected professionals; the stolen election narrative is the “Big Lie,” and the Justice Department is doing all it can to hold President Donald J. Trump accountable for his many misdeeds.


The truth is not somewhere in the middle.


We have only a few months to figure this out. Either we get it right or lose our democracy as we know it. This is not hyperbole. The very real question before us then, incredible though it might seem, is precisely this: which side is right and which is wrong?


Our only option is to go on a fact-finding mission—a real one, beyond the breathless narrative on either side of the divide. Inasmuch as we can, we’ll go straight to Truth Ground Zero. Just the facts, ma’am.


To be clear, I do not believe the election was stolen. You’re not so sure. I plan to vote for Biden, and you plan to vote for Trump. We have different agendas and guaranteed biases. So, how do you trust me to lead us through this exercise?


YOU DON’T.


Not without automatic skepticism and certainly not without verifying my sources within an inch of their lives.


In this same vein, let us never again unquestionably believe what we hear on Facebook, X, and YouTube. We will also not believe what we hear on the news or from our politicians without verifying news stories and other events. We can learn how to do this together and hold each other accountable.


If we’re lucky, we might just save our democracy. (Hey, a girl can dream.)


Love,

Sara

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2 Comments


Guest
Jul 02

This is just sad Sara. You've been shown the truth but refuse to see it. The next few months are going to be difficult for you.

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Sara Sharpe
Sara Sharpe
2 days ago
Replying to

If this is who I think it is, friend, you've been issuing this same warning to me for years now! Beyond that, I'm not sure how to respond, here.

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