Reprint from May 4, 2017
“. . . I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Value of Truth
Friday and Saturday nights would find my dad and me sitting at the kitchen table. We’d talk into the wee hours of the morning. My mother suffered from mental illness and this was really the only way we could spend some time together. Nothing was off the table. He shared his thoughts on life, love, religion, and politics. He taught me not by preaching, but by sharing softly. My dad rarely raised his voice.
He also fostered my love of words. For as long as I can remember, he started his day with the Webster Dictionary; letting it fall open on his lap and allowing his finger to land where it may. That was his “word for the day”. He shared them with me and we’d use them throughout the day in as many ways as we could think of. What fun when he discovered the word proboscis. How many nose jokes can a grown man come up with in one day? You’d be surprised.
He taught me that truth is highly underrated and because of its scarcity is a most valuable commodity. He taught me to seek out the facts and draw my own conclusions – not falling prey to the ramblings of others. He never told me what to think. He taught me how to think. “Find your own truth, Kylie, and defend it if you must.”
When I was in eighth grade, I was bullied by a group of girls. The abuse was verbal and emotional and finally grew to be physical; sending me home bloodied and upset more than once. I’d always been taught to find peace and understood this to mean to mean that I couldn’t defend myself. This torment lasted throughout most of that year. One day I came home, again, bloodied up and frustrated. Dad quietly said, “Kylie if you come home like this again you’re going to have to deal with me.” Sounds cruel right? “You have to stand up for yourself and what you believe, Kylie. If you don’t, no one will respect you and you’ll constantly face bullies,” he said.
As we approached the end of term, the abuse escalated as if they wanted to get in as much torment as possible before they had to take a summer break. That next day, a girl sitting behind me in my science class stabbed me in the back with the tip of her pencil. I turned about and grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face down on the desk. I’ll never forget the look on my teacher’s face. He had watched these little heifers tear at me for months. There was just the slightest smile as he looked on and he kept right on teaching. She never touched me again, but she was just one part of this little clique, so I had a present waiting for me on my way home on the bus that afternoon. Of course there would be retaliation as the kitten swiped at the rabid dog.
There was no place to sit up front so I had to move to the back. The meanest of the group took out a hat pin. I know, right? What was an eighth grader doing with a hat pin? Well she made great use of it and stuck it deep into me just before we reached her stop. She laughed and made her care-free way down the aisle. I stood up, placed each hand on the seat backs, lifted myself up and kicked her down the aisle. Then I moved to the next and to the next and to the next with my last kick landing her out the door on her behind sprawled on the ground. Everyone on the bus clapped. And no. I did not get into trouble. It seemed that my entire little world had been waiting for me to rise up.
Funny thing about bullies, when you face them, they flee. A couple of weeks later the term ended and we all headed our separate ways for the summer. When I came back to school – a freshman – these same girls that had terrified me became my best friends. Come to find out, one of them was even a second cousin.
So, my dad taught me how to handle bullies, value truth and speak my mind. Why then, as a business owner, am I supposed to sit back quietly when our President makes decisions that affect us all, and many of these decisions are not only questionable, some are downright cruel? I’m not. My daddy taught me better. I need to take up my pen and do some proverbial ass whuppin’.
Dad would be sad to see the state of affairs today and just how scarce a commodity truth has become, what with alternative facts, political spin doctors and social media masquerading as a valid news source. I’m going to keep plowing through the facts and figures. I’ll draw my own conclusions and I will write about them. Because that is what I do. I encourage you to do the same.
Extend your mind beyond the four corners of your head space. Read as many reputable news sources as you can get your hands on. Compare. Contrast.
Re-read our America’s founding documents so you know which of your rights may be in jeopardy. Look at the Congressional Record and see how your representatives are voting. There is actually a Daily Digest to make things easier and many ways to search, whether it be by representative, issue or date. Research allows you to make your own informed decisions instead of relying on others to tell you what to think.
Know how to contact your representatives and senator so you can express your views in a way that make a difference.
More importantly, go straight to the horses’ mouths. Read what they are actually saying and then look to see if it is accurate, if it makes sense. Does it hurt others? Are they following through on what they say? Is it in the best interest of the country, or does it favor a select few, leaving many others disenfranchised?
It’s wonderful to know what you believe. It’s imperative to know why you believe it. There are a host of free blog sites out there. Do your due diligence and share your truth – whatever it is. It’s a free country – so far. Let’s keep it that way.
Suggested Resources for Reliable News Sources
This is a small list and by no means all inclusive. Some lean left and some to the right. For a better overall understanding, it is good to examine both. I will be doing a post on left, centrist and right media.
Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BBC , NPR, Snopes (Great for fact checking.), The Economist, PBS News Hour, C-Span, The Associated Press, The New York Times,
Kylie Addison Sabra