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Paloucek: Opinions do not change truth

Paloucek: Opinions do not change truth

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“True — in accordance with fact or reality; accurate or exact.”

— Oxford Languages online dictionary

If the front passenger side tire on your car is flat, that is the one that has to be fixed and inflated if you want to safely drive that car. That is a true statement. It is consistent with facts and reality. It is accurate and exact.

Putting more air in the driver’s side rear tire is not going to fix your problem. It does not matter how many people are of the opinion that putting more air in the driver’s side rear tire will get you on down the road. It makes no difference how many politicians, regardless of partisan affiliation, profess belief in the “air in the driver’s side rear tire” concept. The pontificating of television talking heads does not alter the truth about fixing the tire problem. Not even the unanimous position of your Facebook friends, or content of shared news feeds, will alter what it is going to take to repair the flat. And no conspiracy theory that air flowing into a driver’s side rear tire will mysteriously fix all flats on the involved car will make it so.

It is purely and simply not true that adding air to the driver’s side rear tire will fix a flat tire on the front passenger side. Period. End of discussion. No one would argue otherwise, right?

We are in the midst of an upswing in COVID-19-19 infections due to the emergence of the delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than previous variations of the virus. Of those who are losing their lives to COVID-19, 99.5% are unvaccinated.

We are living in a country where COVID-19 vaccinations are widely and conveniently available without cost. The vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing death and serious illness from the disease, including the delta variant.

Yet some 30% of Americans have not received even one dose of vaccine. Many among that 30% reference their beliefs and opinions, something they have heard from a politician or television personality, something read on Facebook or other social media or a conspiracy theory as the reason for not being vaccinated.

The results of the 2020 presidential election were certified by the responsible state officials. Over 60 cases contesting the election results were dismissed by courts across the country. The only successful case over a Pennsylvania election regulation had zero impact on the outcome.

Audits of various degrees of credibility have been conducted — the one in Arizona continues — none has identified irregularities that would change the election outcome. Even Donald Trump’s acquiescent attorney general William Barr confirmed that Department of Justice investigations concluded that there were no irregularities that would alter the outcome of the election.

Nationwide, President Biden received approximately 7 million more votes than Donald Trump. The National Archives record that Biden won the Electoral College over Trump by a count of 306 to 232. Yet a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 2000 Americans in May found that 25% of those polled, including more than half of those who identified as Republicans, said Trump won the election. Many cited their personal beliefs and opinions, statements of politicians or television personalities, social media or conspiracy theories as the basis of their statements.

The COVID-19 vaccine prevents death and reduces illness from the virus. Biden won the presidential election. These things are true. They are consistent with facts and reality. They are accurate and exact. No matter what politicians and TV stars say, or how strongly one may believe otherwise, or what is shared on social media, the truth does not change.

No democratic republic that elects its representatives by popular vote can long thrive if its citizenry does not act on truths. How long have candidates been elected on promises of increased government services and lower taxes? No matter how much we believe that such a promise can be kept, no matter what politicians and talking heads say, regardless of what is on Facebook and social media, the lie of lower taxes and increased government services is still a lie and always will be. Yet we regularly and reliably elect and reelect those who most adamantly insist that he or she will bring this untruth to being. Too often, we reward those who preach the lower-tax-more-services lie, and we reject those who speak the truth.

If we want to get the car down the road, it is the flat tire that must be fixed and inflated. That is the truth.

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