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Can We Handle the Truth?

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They say that children and drunks speak the truth. Maybe we should allow kids to tell the truth as they see it so they will grow into adults who can speak it. What a novel idea! Sometimes, the only thing more ugly than the truth is hearing it. We are socialized not to speak it and become hearing impaired as a result of it. If you think a drunk has slurred speech, just listen to the rest of the world as it tells you what they think you want to hear. Listen to yourself as you do the same.

Language is no longer the tool it was intended to be. It's a weapon being held hostage by politicians practicing diplomatic relations. They send our children dressed as soldiers to the battlefields.Why do you think it's called an infantry?

It takes a lot of courage to speak out and voice the truth. Much of the problem stems from childhood where we are given mixed signals as to what truth is acceptable, and which is not. A child is told to tell the truth about eating the candy, brushing his teeth, stealing the cookie from the jar. Conversely, a child is castigated for pointing out the obvious: "Aunt Mary is fat", "look there's a man with no legs!" or " Daddy was kissing a girl who isn't mommy".

There is something so awkward about being asked a question where the truth and the "correct" answer are at opposite ends and we are left holding the plate that can feed only one side of the table.Tell them what they want to hear and you'll be eating well and living large.Tell it like it is and you'll find yourself eating alone, more often than not.I'd rather do the latter than end up sitting across a table from someone with silence as the invisible centerpiece; there's nothing left to say because all the lies have already been told.

It must be awfully confusing for a young mind to comprehend that some versions of the truth are tolerated and others are not. The landmines of embarrassment are best avoided by learning which get rewarded and which do not. Especially when the punishment rarely fits the crime. The blinders and harnesses against truth are put on children until they are completely broken and perfectly groomed for the human race.

The odds of emerging victorious simply for speaking your mind make you the dark horse and the long shot. No matter what, nobody can beat a dead horse when it has a lobby, religion, agenda or private funding supporting its cause. Just look who's in the winner's circle. Even the minority still has a whip. Every four years we have the opportunity to decide what kind of sh*t we want to walk into. It's still the same sh*t. It's just coming from a horse of a different color.

Not a single baby brought to this earth comes into it hating another human being. Infants don't look at each other and makes snap judgments based on skin color, religious preference, sexual orientation, economic status or political belief. We have systems in place to change all that. They are called parents. And houses of worship. And governments.

A tiny mind can be easily formed, manipulated, molded or brainwashed. The tool we use to accomplish this task is language. Our histories are the roots from which our bias originates to form the words. We reinforce the thought patterns with the assistance of visual aides.

Our fingers are the original pointers.

Most of us can probably not remember when we stopped telling the truth altogether. It must be somewhere around the same time we stopped listening to it.

Seeming is believing.

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Patricia A. Smith is a writer and artist (and sometimes both at the same time). A former columnist, restaurant critic and cruise line executive, Smith has lived in London, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, Egypt, Costa Rica and France. She returned (more...)
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