Slices of Life: Moving toward all truths

We don’t want to live in a nation divided. So let’s make a pledge toward honesty for all of us, and it starts with you and me.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” —Walter Scott

They say the only two things we can count on in life are death and taxes. I’d like to add one more: Deception.

We all lie. Not as in a supine position of the couch or bed, but as providing false or incomplete information in order to perpetuate information that is less than truthful.

Lies are not inherently bad. Far from it.

“Does this make my butt look fat?” is a lie in the making. To respond otherwise would be detrimental to futures ­of the asker and the responder.


So we tell lies — little white ones.

Lately it’s been hard to discern the truth from lies, especially in politics. In this, many are pointing fingers. It feels like everyone is committed to their own truths, while the beliefs of other differing opinions are seen as lies. It feels judgmental and self-righteous on all accounts. Probably because it is.

We have a divided country.

We had an election that split us down the middle nearly 50-50.

And it seems that anyone on side A of the fence can’t fathom how someone on side B of the fence could come to the decisions they did. And vice versa.

How did we get here?

I believe the answer is deception.

This truth (as I believe it to be) brings me great sorrow. People are willing to spread untruths in order to further their own cause. We all know this is wrong. But it is happening all around us, from every side, every which way. You’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it. It has been running rampant like an off-the-rails train going downhill fast.


It feels as though we may be doing downhill fast.

And, no matter which side of the aisle you are on, I believe there is one truth we all should contemplate.

You believe your truth to be just that. You’ve lived it. You’ve listened. You’ve gathered facts and you’ve made your decision and it is the right one for you.

But, over 70 million voting Americans disagree with that truth. 70 million people can’t be all wrong. Read that again. 70 million people disagree with your truth. Just like your group of more than 70 million disagrees with theirs.

Those disagreeing with you can’t be completely blind or indifferent to the facts. The entire 70 million of them can’t be stupid. Like you, they have listened, gathered information and made an educated decision. They see the truth in their set of beliefs. They have a hard time understanding your logic. Much like you feel about theirs.

I get it. I’m willing to bet you get it.

How does this end?

I’m not sure. But I think we all have to stop thinking we are the only group on the right side of right. Further, we can’t expect the “other” side to come over to our way of thinking. That’s not going to happen.


The only way to come together is to acknowledge that no one is 100% completely right. That just doesn’t happen when it’s 70 million on one side and 70 million on the other. Let’s all get real and face that truth.

No one person or set of beliefs caused this situation. But to some extent we all participated. No one is blameless. To acknowledge this is to acknowledge there is no cut and dried, right or wrong. This is a step toward the truth — and in the right direction.

Whether we passed on a meme we thought was funny and spoke to our cause, whether we blocked friends who had opinions differing from ours, whether we wrote or said something judgmental or negative or degrading about those who saw things differently from us. Whether we simply liked posts that agreed with our preconceived notions without fact-checking, we all participated. The majority of us did, at least.

That’s the bad news. The good news is we can all participate in the healing. We all need to participate in the healing. And that requires humility and honesty. It requires empathy and attempting with all of our hearts and souls to see things from another’s perspective. This is a colossal opportunity for growth as people and as a country. Let’s look at it that way.

We don’t want to live in a nation divided. So let’s make a pledge toward honesty for all of us, and it starts with you and me.

This means no more skewing the facts — and especially no more bending the truth — unless it involves telling someone their butt does not look fat in any pair of jeans. Especially if that butt belongs to your spouse.

J ill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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