Andy Young

It’s never a good idea to believe in the goodness or infallibility of any human being, let alone one preoccupied with achieving or maintaining power or national prominence.

I thought John Edwards was a fine and decent man who would make a great president.

Apparently I was mistaken. But that’s not the only thing I’ve been wrong about.

In late 2003 I told anyone who’d listen that deposed Red Sox skipper Grady Little would win a World Series ring before anyone affiliated with his former team in Boston did. I was proven incorrect less than a year later. (Further confession: I was also wrong when I thought it mattered.)

I thought pedaling my bike around the little wooden foot bridge at Twin Brook Park would save a few seconds of my time. Not only was I quite mistaken about that, I cracked some ribs when I went over the handlebars while taking my self-designed “shortcut.”

I was sure I could run a five-mile road race in 95-degree heat at a sub six-minute-per-mile pace. Not only was I wrong that time, the ensuing ambulance ride (taken while I was unconscious) showed I was nearly dead wrong.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the first to say, “The truth shall set you free,” and his original words are as true today as they were back when he wrote them in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham jail.”

In theory admitting the truth, even when it’s unfavorable or inconvenient, is always the most sensible option. But that presumes human beings are always rational.

It’s not always easy to acknowledge unflattering facts. “The coach didn’t like me,” is a far easier explanation for getting cut from the high school basketball team than, “There were 10 guys better than me.” Likewise, “They hired her because she’s a woman,” sounds better to one’s friends than, “She was more qualified.”

Stretching, embellishing, evading or sometimes downright ignoring the truth isn’t a failing that’s limited to everyday people. Plenty of evidence suggests wealthy, influential and powerful folks holding (or aspiring to hold) elected office will say anything with a straight face if there’s even a glimmer of hope a gullible electorate will buy it. Exhibit A: “That depends on what the meaning of the word is is” was deemed by a former president and his handlers to be a more prudent choice of words than, “Alright, I had sex with her, okay? Now can we just move on?”

Another currently significant quote comes from American humorist Mark Twain (1835-1910), who sagely observed, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled,” a statement even more relevant today than it was when it was first uttered more than a century ago.

Presently an astonishingly large number of Americans unconditionally believe the shrill, persistent promises of a conman who claims not only will he build an illegal-immigrant-stopping wall spanning the entire 1954-mile border between the United States and Mexico, but that our neighbors to the south will pay for it.

He’s also proposing America create a new branch of the military that will assure our dominance of outer space.

He’s considered infallible by a startling number of pious moralists despite his paying enormous sums of hush money to a string of mistresses he’s collected since his third marriage.

He claims no one is less racist, misogynistic, or biased than he, despite his incessant bullying tweets and his numerous dog whistle appeals to white supremacists. His backers zealously support his strident denials, parroting his claim that the 4000+ documented examples of false or misleading claims he made in his first 558 days as president are bogus.

Trump defenders, listen to Mark Twain, heed the voice of Dr. King, and let the healing begin. Disagreeing with established facts doesn’t make them “fake news.” Mar-a-Lago’s draft-evading, tax-dodging owner has nothing in common with you, and in spite of the current preponderance of spineless, self-serving Republican rubber stamps in Congress, there’s not going to be a border wall or a Space Force. The coal industry isn’t coming back, either.

Uh oh. This is embarrassing.

Fact checking reveals no evidence Mark Twain ever actually wrote or said anything about people being easier to fool than to convince they’ve been fooled.

And it wasn’t Dr. King, but Jesus of Nazareth (in the Bible, specifically John 8:32) who first made reference to the truth setting one free.

I was mistaken.

Again.

But I admit it. And you know what? I’m feeling freer already.

Try it, Trump supporters. Admit you were wrong, and experience the novel exhilaration of free, independent, rational thought based on authentic facts. You won’t regret it.

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