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Thursday, June 29, 2017

No One Has the Monopoly on Truth

Truth has become the centerpiece of American discussion these days. The question, What is true?, is first and foremost on the minds of many as they try to decipher tweets, blog posts, news reports, research, video, and more. President Trump sits at the heart of this debate as he relentlessly cries "fake news," and then appears to tweet and speak some of his own "fake news" related to numbers and other factual information.

Since my youngest days I've been searching for truth. I thought a lot about what is right and good as a young child and throughout my life as I analyzed multiple situations close and far from home. With an undying desire and multiple challenges to do good--I was constantly looking for evidence, modeling, and words of truth.

Where did I find this evidence? What has led me forward in this search?

Mostly the evidence has been born out of good experiences and helpful individuals. Early on I engaged in countless activities with multiple people that brought up good feelings and acts. As a big, extended family we had a lot of fun with each other and helped each other out too. This to me was evidence of truth.

I noticed the changes born out of leaders' good and truthful words particularly with regard to dramatic, deep events such as The Civil Rights movement, the end to apartheid in South Africa, and Gandhi's example of nonviolence. Also less dramatic, but life changing nonetheless, events like Lady Bird Johnson's anti-littering campaign, Michelle Obama's health advocacy, and Jimmy Carter's work with Habitat for Humanity. Close to home I watched Principle Jim Lee's efforts to forward service learning, Ms. Leo's ability to support strong friendships and social competency, and Ms. Mattson's quiet, sensitivity when coaching students ahead. All around me, all my life, I've been witness to truthful acts that forwarded people's experience of living and loving.

As I thought about truth today and the constant debate associated with the search for truth in today's Internet-laden society, I recognized the fact that no one person has a monopoly on truth. There are some, of course, that we believe hold a greater ability to know what is true and how to ascertain that--people like Pope Francis, Desmond Tutu, Barack and Michelle Obama, The Dalai Lama--these men and women are reverent, confident, spiritual, and kind. There are also so many women and men fighting and searching for truth like Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Warren and Barbara Madeloni--people of the world and people in my world making a difference. There are truths seekers in every profession, many are quiet, little known, and steadfast in their work to find the truth in science, the arts, politics, education, and more.

Even those we disagree with, hold truths--though we may disagree with much of what they say and do, they typically hold truths, in part, related to who they are and what they advocate for. Similarly while we'd like to think that we act truthfully in all we do on our own and with others, it's most probable that some of what we say and do is not true as well--truth is a moving object, an evolutionary and relative concept.

All of us, rightly, should be on the look out for truth in what we say, do, and promote. We are more likely to find this truth if we band with others in our search. Though it will always be true that no one person has the monopoly on truth, but that doesn't make the search or acquisition of this fleeting, abstract concept less positive or alluring.