I just want to hear “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” so God help this administration.
Education Secretary Betsy Devos called the architects of schools built during the most intense period of American segregation “pioneers” of “school choice.” She said they took it “upon themselves to provide the solution” to “a system that wasn’t working.” In a statement, Devos said that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) “started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education.” Never mind the fact that socially colored black people were legally barred from attending the same schools as socially colored white people because they were thought to be inferior and thereby incapable of learning due the social construct of race. Tell me, how is it that the education secretary offers a fake history lesson?
Exhibit B. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said during a speech to his employees that enslaved Africans were immigrants. Carson said, “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.” So, I am expected to believe that they after they were kidnapped and in effect, separated from their families, enslaved Africans laid their heads down in the bottom of a ship filled with vomit and excrement and began to dream of the life that their children would have once they reached America’s shores?
I cannot get my head around the fact that he said this. Enslaved Africans were viewed as property, considered “slaves for life,” worked from “sun up to sun down” and were paid nothing. This country was built on their backs. That’s the truth and it doesn’t matter if its popular or palatable. We have to say it anyway.
And last but not certainly not least, Kellyanne Conway, the senior advisor to President Trump, said during a recent interview when asked if former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower as stated (not suspected) in Trump’s tweets, that any number of devices can be used in surveillance, including a microwave. Apparently, I cannot trust my appliances either. Along with the media, they, too, are seeking to undermine Trump’s presidency. Conway later clarified her comments but the damage was already done. Memes of President Trump with foil on his head were already in circulation. Persons then added pictures of themselves throwing out their microwaves.
The government made me do it. Household appliances are now public enemy number one. Consequently, the revolution will not be microwaved. These conspiracy theories and the hypervigilance that comes with it are a part of our news cycle. And chasing down the truth after Trump’s claims of wiretapping can make you feel like you are running in a hamster wheel. Stop. I want to get off.
To be sure, I am not looking for a conservative, moderate or liberal truth. I am not looking for a bipartisan truth. Just the plain truth. Hold the “alternate facts.”
To be clear, I am not referring to “your truth” versus “my truth.” This is not a battle between perspectives. No, I am talking about government officials, representatives of the American people who cannot be taken at their word and a president who says or tweets one thing and we are expected to believe that he means another. Because the government tells me so.
I don’t know if I can tell other persons what to give up for Lent but if I could, I would suggest that Mr. Trump and his administration give up lying. There is something in the Ten Commandments about not bearing false witness against others so it’s a sin — though I understand this truth doesn’t hold much weight these days. Here’s the reference if you’re interested: Exodus 20.16. Trump said he is a Christian so it was worth a try.
Let me try this instead. We cannot fix a lie. They don’t fix broken systems and certainly not broken people. And crying fake news when reports are not favorable may lead to more people watching — but not to come to your aid. Up next: a train wreck.
We are witnessing the derailment of honesty, the outright denial of truth. This bait with promises and switch to propaganda is happening live. History repeats itself but who will interrupt to say, “We have heard this before? We have done this before and it does not end well?” This is not the time to be on the side of history but on the side of the immigrant, the stranger and the poor — literally.
Because this is good for television but not for the real-life dramas that Americans are confronted with every day. Expected to “put on the mind of Christ” and to journey with him during this Lenten season, there is so much to get our heads around (1 Corinthians 2.16). I would suggest that we resist the temptation to be messengers of this fake news, which should not be confused with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Neither the government nor any administration will bring the kingdom of God to earth.
And it is important that we not fill our minds with an endless Twitter feed as we turn over our plates to receive from Christ’s hands. This is not your daily bread. Instead, the words of the Apostle Paul seem most appropriate and in fact, a form of resistance. We can keep our heads on straight with this charge. As he said to the church at Philippi, I say to you: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4.8, NRSV).