United States President-elect, Barack Obama, has written a hugely popular book titled The Audacity of Hope. While it may certainly be true that hope is running a little thin in this country, I don’t think it is the characteristic of the American spirit that most needs to be bolstered.
There is a palpable apathy for truth in this country; it seems to me that many people don’t want to know it, aren’t capable of hearing it, and simply don’t care. The truth is untidy, shameful, and brash. Moreover, truth is often abhorred for its ugliness and inconvenience (Al Gore had that part right, at least). In terms of its audacity, the truth itself is often viewed as a galling, bad-mannered table-guest hosts are obligated to invite, but secretly hope won’t show.
The truths about which I speak are not the esoteric beliefs held by members of the “fringe” or the seasoning ingredients of life one only discovers over time; the truths to which I am referring are the fundamental facts that reveal themselves to us each and every day. Sadly, there is a growing population of people in this country who will passionately argue that the sky is not blue only because they have never seen it. More and more our fellow citizens take that which is doled-out to them, stamp it with a label corresponding to its perceived importance, and file it away for future reference. There’s no research. There’s not even any thought. People Magazine says the sky is (enter color here), so there you go.
Those of us who do care to research that which is slopped onto our plates, and refuse to consume it without a bit of investigation, are shunned and derided. We are forced to choke down a mystery meat of sorts, fashioned to look like mother’s meatloaf but clearly nothing even close. To question its freshness is inconvenient, intolerable. This mess is a hodgepodge of lies and half-truths, seasoned with just enough passion and enthusiasm to barely cover the stink. Yuck!
Okay, enough metaphor. But what is one to do when the truth becomes inconvenient? Is there hope for a society hell-bent on consumption without investigation? How can they protect themselves if they don’t even care to check the date on their cottage-cheese? How can your neighbor help you if he doesn’t even care to help himself? There’s a rumbling coming from the other side of the mountain. It’s the sound of doom; for the people have learned to love what’s on their plate, and hate the truth.