The importance of truth
All of us want to hear the truth. Fiction is entertaining but beyond storytelling, truth matters.
Rex Tillerson, the former U.S. Secretary of State, is quoted in his commencement speech for the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA:
A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not.
It’s a speech well worth listening to as it encourages the graduating class to pursue integrity in all they do. It’s a message we all need to hear from time to time. It speaks the truth.
Finding truth today
Where is truth found in our politics and in our news today? Does it come from the left or the right? Does it come from our President, our U.S. congressional leaders, and/or our state leaders? Do we get the truth at Fox News or from the purported “fake news” outlets? Can we trust the Internet to deliver truth?
It seems that truth is a quickly disappearing commodity; certainly it is missing in our common values. Our nation becomes more polarized than we can stand. How many of you have said, or have it heard it said, “I’m tired of politics!” We get tired because truth has faded from what we see and hear. We have to work at ferreting out the truth from all the chaff and we become fatigued.
Distractions cause us to ignore the truth
Secretary Tillerson further pointed out that Jesus tells us (John 8:32), “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” We have heard of its value and we seek truth—we cherish it. But we grow weary.
There are plenty who will twist the truth and dissuade us from believing it. We are distracted by shiny objects, dramatic newsworthy episodes, and scenes that compel us to watch impending train wrecks. As the journalism saying goes: If it bleeds, it leads.
Truth often disappears when our attention drifts to a false message with the pretense of it being one of chief concern. A used car—a clunker, for example, may be of little value but we focus on the new tiresbecause the salesperson distracts us. Distraction is the realm of magicians, slight-of-hand tricksters, and charlatans. Truth is ignored.
Similarly, we ignore the truth of votes counted during presidential elections. Our attention is distracted when numbers about low voter turnout are slipped past our eyes amid falling balloons and confetti. We forget (or did we ever hear) that very few actually elect our president?
The 2016 truth
Are you ready for some truth?
The 2016 presidential election was a typical election in that few votes counted. You don’t typically hear that but it is the truth. Almost 30% of registered voters didn’t even cast a ballot. Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, and West Virginia did not even get 60% of their voters to the polls. That’s a tragedy. If we took in that truth and worked to correct it, would that truth make a difference? Would it set us free?
Truth is not merely concealed by other people, however. Systems and processes that steer our attention off-course also conceal truth. How often have we watched a truthful message become trampled and outshouted in meetings and gatherings? Robert’s Rules of Order help save us from ourselves. Honest systems matter.
Because of the winner-takes-all approach all states use (yes, even Maine and Nebraska), close to half of the votes cast during the presidential election years do not count. Fully, over 124,000,000 (62.68%) registered voters did not count in 2016. It is the winner-takes-all approach, not the Electoral College, which elicits these negative results. Is that truth inconvenient to hear—to recognize?
The truth gets even worse. Add the low voter turnout and the discounted votes due to the winner-takes-all approach together. It then means that less than 21% of registered voters elected our current president. Remember, too, many eligible voters are not even registered! The counted percentage dwindles even more.
Equal Voice Voting reveals truth
Equal Voice Voting (EVV) eliminates the winner-takes-all approach. EVV ensures every vote counts and every state matters. There are no distractions, no concealments, no slight-of-hand with EVV to bait-and-switch voters from the truth. Preserving the Electoral College, as EVV does, means its results are the truth.
Further, EVV actually encourages voter engagement. Voter turnout would increase as citizens realized their vote is truly considered. The truth about EVV is that we can easily realize a doubling of voter participation if we want it.
Equal Voice Voting retains our integrity
Secretary Tillerson noted a Miriam Webster’s definition of integrity as, “The state of being complete and whole.” Tillerson referred to this as he spoke about truth for he reminded the graduates that it is our integrity that matters most.
If we only look at who won the presidential election and ignore the complete truth and the whole truth, we entertain an election without integrity. Our democracy and our futures are then put at risk.
I encourage you to look past the headlines and the election noise and see the truth. Tell others the truth. Tell your state legislators the truth. Demand the truth. Let’s make every vote count!