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Truth — what’s it worth?

A View From the Edge

The truth will always come out. Or so we always thought. Human beings, raised on a diet of disparate cultures, different ethics and moral evaluation (often from unique religions), always need time to adjust to one another. We all need time to talk. Commonality of purpose or desire takes a long time to take hold — and even then usually only happens when there is a common goal or enemy forcing us to act as one. Truth was always the linchpin for any such direction change or understanding.

All Americans need discourse — over time — or something exterior that forces us to unite. Truth, including exaggeration and celebrity endorsement, have always been a part of our national discourse. Remember, America is the country always seeking the “new” or “improved” to govern desires. However, only recently have large portions of the population sought a return to an older, less new time. That fracture to the post-colonial spirit is particularly un-American, nothing akin to the Madison Avenue take of the American psyche. 

Name me one mass-produced product that claims, “just like it was 50 years ago.” And yet, a portion of the population desperately seeks, like that old adage, to “stop the world, I want to get off.” And since the capitalist society of “new, new, new,” we live in will never allow that to occur, that portion of the population may always profess they feel disenfranchised — when in reality what they are is left behind, scared and without hope. Hand them a messiah-prophet-like leader and they will follow simply because they are offered a glimmer of hope.

Now, add in a serious disaster of global proportions that will lessen hope across every nation and you create whole populations looking for a future, for hope. At any cost? Sure, why not? What have people who are waiting for a hand-out that never comes, or forced into a distancing from family and work that leaves them lonely — what do they have to lose? No, wait, a check shows up with proof of the person who wants to support them written on the check — would they not take that as a sign of a possible future? Sure, that’s un-onstitutional, and surely people aren’t fooled, are they?

In the ‘30s in Europe that was the recipe for two leaders. They built on people’s fears, they mined people’s hopelessness. They lied, they cheated, they created false hopes for a thousand-year future. False? For a short while that hope was realized when workers had bread to feed their families without a food bank in sight. But the cost of that social rescue and remedy had to be paid for. Halfway through the last century, the easiest way to secure compensation for that “rescue” was to annex, take over, neighboring lands and resources. If you do that under the banner of propaganda professing your superior race — be it Japanese, Italian, or German — that ethic forces your soldiers onward even when they lose heart. 

In today’s world that annex of a neighbor may not be as profitable as a schism within our own country, making a have-not and have divide permanent. Or the worse calamity of nuclear obliteration to reduce the needs of large portions of the populations across the planet.

Now is a time to stop and take stock and see where we really are, standing together with commonality across the world fighting a deadly virus. We must not allow that excuse to fuel a potentate to misguide us, to profiteer from our suffering and lead us into a calamity worst than anything the world has ever known.


Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now resides in New Mexico.

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