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Don’t let truth get lost in politics

When serious financial challenges face society, or even just a small community within a society (and we here in Harlan County are certainly a small community within American society), what is needed is hard-core honesty from our leaders — hard-core honesty cultivated from facts and knowledge and truthfulness and thoughtful wisdom.

This ain’t no time for any of us to be distracted by the shiny words of some cool-breeze slick-talking politician; nor some handsome multi-millionaire television-preacher. We need cold hard facts. Only then can we understand the breadth of the problem before us.

These mountains possess unlimited potential, but it is obvious to us all that some form of “alteration” is necessary. We want our kids and grandkids to thrive here among us. We need a solution to our financial problem. Our region is in a proverbial, “pickle.” More accurately, we are all stuck in the damn jar together. So we need the unvarnished truth. When we know the facts, we’ll be better suited to deal with the challenges of the next 20 and 50 years. But, we must begin with the facts.

Facts in this country seem to get quickly mixed and diluted by political sentiment. The truth is often tilted and convoluted to suit a particular political view; but make no mistake, that only occurs because humans are involved. Humans distort and twist and shroud facts consistently; they always have and always will; but it does not change the facts. That is why it is so important to know the unvarnished truth whenever possible.

Here are a couple of unvarnished facts.

I owe my professional life and any success I’ve had to the love of my mom and the dedication and caring of teachers and football coaches. Without them, I would have experienced a very hard, unhappy life. I’m certain because I witnessed the life of my father.

My father died a lonely, hateful, insecure and jealous man. There was no joy in his heart. My grandfather, my father’s father, passed those painful qualities onto my father; and my grandfather studied a 50-pound Bible every day of his mean, stubborn, ignorant life.

The only thing that spreads faster than love, is hate. So, this first fact is rock-solid; education turns potential losers into professional tax-paying citizens with a passion for life.

Facts are not always welcomed with open arms. Some are not easy to accept. For example, I love and have always loved John Wayne movies. Yet, I now understand that John Wayne is not the real name of the man “who shot Liberty Valance.” The actor’s real name was Marion Morrison.

I also found out that Marion never served in the Armed Forces of the USA, even during World War II. On top of that, he was a “rat.” He squealed on his colleagues for speaking-out about political ideas. He also had children that he denied financial backing and refused to pay child-support on their behalf.

Marion even showed his ignorance by stating some very racist comments; ignorant racist rants. Now that does not sound like an American man I should want to admire and emulate; it certainly does not. I still watch his movies, but I now understand the truth.

Marion has been removed from my list of men to be admired. His persona was a Hollywood creation…he was just a man; a flawed man; not a hero.

So, facts bring forth good news and bad. They can make us proud or they can sometimes make people upset because they rub against a persons’ pre-set notion of truth. They expose the complexity and nuance of our existence. For certain, our existence and every important issue relative to our lives is suspended in a complicated and twisted soup of nuance and hidden agenda.

No matter, we need the facts. We all must grit our teeth and bare the facts and use those facts to develop the mechanisms of our survival; cause I think we all get out of this jar or no one does.