Carelessness towards the truth

Unfortunately throughout the history of mankind, extreme seasons of hatred are a regular occurrence. Most cases of hatred revolve around religion, race and superiority.
Travel to Northern Ireland and experience the seething hatred even today between the Catholics and Protestants. The former Soviet-bloc country, Yugoslavia, when it broke the chains of Communism, entered a period of brutal war finding peace only after the creation of six countries along religious and ethnic lines.
I have not read enough history to understand the divide between Sunnis and Shia Muslims, but I suspect it is similar to the divide between Catholics and Protestants—those who read the same Holy Words, worship the same God, yet elevate oneself to the superior interpretation.
Last week in Ottawa racist slurs and symbols vandalized a mosque, Jewish synagogue and a Christian church with a predominately black congregation.
Last week the only two women candidates for the Progressive Leadership campaign in Alberta dropped out. Long-term Conservative MLA, Sandra Jensen could no longer stomach the smear and insult campaign that the radical right unleashed against her because of her belief that all peoples have the right to be heard and represented.
A leading contender in the federal Conservative race, Kellie Leitch, is basing her campaign solely on anti-immigrant rhetoric and fear.
Hatred begets more hatred and once the ball starts rolling, it is very hard to stop. Hatred is always based on untruths and demonization of peoples that we do not interact with or know.
Oxford dictionary has chosen this year the hyphenated word—‘post-truth’ as its new word for 2016.
We have clearly entered a season where truth is old-fashioned and irrelevant. Reality TV shows, think tanks, consolidation of traditional media in the hands of a few, social media and the internet have been agents of this radical move away from the truth.
It is intriguing the number of people on social media that have been arguing with bots—a software application that runs automated scripts over the internet. Bots are self-serving propaganda tools used by an unknown someone to indoctrinate people with their viewpoint.
Then there are fake news stories on social media platforms such as Facebook. The more outrageous the story, the more hits, the more money for the creator of the news.
It all ties together, when we have never befriended or regularly rubbed shoulders with someone who is of a different race, religion, colour or sexual orientation, we don’t see them as a human beings.
Such was the most disgusting example of dehumanization when a West Virginia county worker called First Lady Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” and a small town mayor posted a like for that comment.
If we use only social media or coffee shop conversations as our news sources and take no personal initiative to verify the facts behind the words, we become victims of propaganda.
Untruth and hatred walk hand in hand. I don’t think there should be any surprise about the current level of hatred that is erupting in first-world, democratic countries today, including Canada.
It’s simply a judgement on all of us for our carelessness towards the truth.

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