There’s No Point Being “Honest” With Everyone Else If You Can’t Be Honest About Yourself First

There’s an iconic film moment in the movie “A Few Good Men”. Military JAG officer Tom Cruise has the movie’s villain (played by Jack Nicholson) on the stand where he’s pressed him hard to get at “the truth”. Nicholson’s Colonel Jessep barks: “You can’t HANDLE the truth!” Of course, in the movie (written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner, both very progressive), we’re meant to shake our heads at Jessep’s arrogance. Of course we can handle the Truth. Ah, but, can we? Can any of us really handle the Truth about who we are and where we are in our lives versus where we wished we’d be? As much as I advocate in this blog for “living bullshit free”, the unvarnished truth about humans is we need a certain amount of bullshit just to get through each day. Hell, we need a certain amount of bullshit just to justify getting through most days. Especially these days.

The trap in being honest with ourselves is if we equate being honest with being judged. The reason we don’t want to be honest is because we don’t want to be judged — especially if we’re just “being honest”. Inside our own heads though, things get grey. We don’t judge ourselves the way we judge others. We couldn’t stand it if we did. But, if we could push past that kneejerk judgment, let our psychological hair down and run free, we’d probably be shocked by the stone, cold truth about ourselves. That’s neither good nor bad. It’s just the Truth.

For instance: none of us can say whether or not we’re racist. It’s not up to us. It’s up to anyone toward whom we may have been racist. IF someone were to accuse us of being a racist (or bigoted or misogynist in any way), would we accept hearing such a terrible TRUTH about ourselves? Or would we insist the “truth” was otherwise — something kinder and gentler toward us? Being honest with oneself is hard, hard work. But the payoffs are considerable. Important detail: being totally honest with yourself about yourself must precede any attempt to be totally honest about anyone else.
If you’re doing it right, being honest with yourself about yourself is pretty much a full time job all by itself. You won’t have time to give others the “benefit” of your honesty. If the world was working the way it should, all those others will be as consumed as you will be by the work involved in patrolling their own “perimeters of truth”.

One of the first benefits of being honest with oneself however is how it opens one’s eyes to the myriad ways OTHERS aren’t being honest with themselves but with some very important, very human context around it. On the one hand, that can make us more empathetic to why and how others dance around the truth. On the other, the context makes it crystal clear when others aren’t being “truthful” about WHY they’re dancing as fast as they’re dancing: they’re being cynical. Or, worse, corrupt.

The whole point of being honest with oneself is to “vaccinate” against bullshit and bullshit’s influence on our psyches.

Cutting ourselves slack is completely understandable. We all have to live inside our own heads. But, we have to recognize (if only to ourselves) that that’s what we’re doing. Again, the point isn’t to judge, it’s merely to RECOGNIZE what really is versus what isn’t and probably never was.

There is not a Republican Congressperson alive right now who doesn’t know what they’re really doing. They KNOW they’re not working to make America a stronger democracy dedicated to expanding its electorate. They KNOW that what they’re doing will, in fact, undermine American’s democracy because that is the point. If you can’t win elections via the strength of your ideas and arguments, you’re going to have to “win” elections by “other means”. Republicans don’t suppress Democratic voters because they believe in democracy, they do it because they fear democracy. That’s not a judgment; it’s a stone cold FACT.

Hey, look — Republicans aren’t “obligated” to want the greatest experiment in human self government to continue. They are obligated however to be honest about their intentions. And, if they refuse to be honest about themselves, it’s incumbent on our news media to force them to be honest. That’s their Constitutionally mandated mission — to be the final check on power. Honesty and sunlight — they both work wonders on a dark, corrupt world.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare put it this way: “To thine own self, be true”. Of course, the person giving that advice (Polonius) is a deceptive skunk, but the sentiment’s right. We can only really be honest — and the sunlight can only do what we need it to do — if we begin the process with ourselves to ourselves.

What If The Truth Is We CAN’T Handle “The Truth”?

A core question we each have to wrestle with: what’s our personal relationship with “The Truth”? You know what I mean — the TRUTH: the stuff we know about ourselves (being ourselves) that no one else could ever know or will ever know. The stone, cold TRUTH we all know down deep. Who we really are, what we really want, why we’re really miserable.

Now let’s talk about the Truth we’ll talk about.

We can all see the scene in our heads. Still — it’s so compelling — let’s watch it together:

Great speech. It perfectly encapsulates the yin-yang of what we wish it took to have order and what it really takes to have order.

The Truth, in sausage terms: no one ever walks away from a sausage factory feeling good about sausage.

A couple of cold, very hard Truths are staring us in the face as we all sit here: Donald Trump is a flat out traitor. That’s A Truth. Serious people loathe to even think the word “treason” have entertained the idea that Donald Trump isn’t some hyperbolic traitor, he’s a very real one. They’re not doing that because of politics. They’re doing it because of treason.

There’s a strange thing the news media does along these lines. In their need to be even-handed, letting their readers decide, they’ll give Trump the benefit of the doubt (still) that everything he does has some actual relationship to his being president — ignoring that he’s never, at any time during his presidency, acted “presidential”. Trump is always reported as if yesterday’s outrages, like those from the days before, never happened. He woke up this morning a normal potus doing normal potus things.

Except, of course, he didn’t. Still — of the three possibilities that could explain the past 3+ years — he’s completely innocent is one possibility. In the abstract.

Second possibility: He’s kinda guilty — some combination of bad intent and stupidity that explains away continuing acts of criminal behavior and obstruction of justice. From an odds point of view — you’d at least figure the explanation for everything could live here. In quasi-guilt.

But there is a third possibility — the one our MSM won’t ever go near — even though it’s very definitely a possibility, too: Donald Trump is completely guilty.

Let’s pretend this was a murder instead of treason. Let’s say Trump actually shot one of his supporters — just like he keeps promising to do.

We have Trump saying he could do it. We have the murder weapon. We have Trump’s bloated, orange fingerprints all over the weapon. We have a murder victim. We have everything we need to say a crime was committed. But our MSM would look at all the evidence and insist no one could know for sure if a crime was committed or even if the dead guy was really dead.

What’s wrong with the Truth?

That’s what every day feels like. Turn on the news — hear Trump’s latest treasonous behavior — hear the news media act as if Trump’s just a slightly unusual potus being potus in a slightly unusual way. No — that’s not it at all. He’s not unusual — he’s a criminal who didn’t “win” an election, he got Russia to steal it for him. Literally.

When Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson was called before the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee (August 22, 2017 — they were trying to undermine the Steele Dossier but failed), he described how Fusion, before getting too deep into the oppo work the conservative, Jebb Bush-supporting Washington Free Beacon had hired them to do, did its “due diligence”: they got ahold of every piece of publicly available material on Donald Trump — be it book, magazine, radio interview or TV appearance. They got it from Amazon, from used book stores and even from Amazon. What Fusion found there — in material anyone could get their hands on — convinced them that Trump had been laundering Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos. That, Simpson testified, is why Fusion sought out Chris Steele, former head of the Russia desk at Britain’s MI6.

The Truth has always stared at us with a moon face: Trump is a traitor. He’s a criminal. So’s the rest of his family. So’s the rest of his administration. How much criminality does one have to witness, read about or have rubbed in one’s nose before you’re allowed to fight back?

Okay — the Truth is: Donald Trump is a traitor who betrayed the nation. The Truth is without Russia’s direct assistance, Donald Trump is not POTUS, Hillary Clinton is. Let’s start there: Donald Trump is not now and never has been the legitimate POTUS. If it violates the Rule Of Law to cheat to become POTUS then Trump’s cheating disqualifies him.

If Trump cheated to become POTUS then he won nothing. Having not won the presidency, he was never authorized to 1) take the oath of office or 2) execute any part of his Constitutional because he wasn’t POTUS. Trump had no more right to pick judges than I do. He has no more right today. He’s not actually POTUS.

The Rule Of Law is pretty simple in its fundamentals: It either is or it isn’t. You can’t have 90% of the Rule of Law (what would the other 10% be — organized chaos?) just like you can’t have 90% of your integrity. Is v isn’t.

If the Rule Of Law IS then The Truth is even that much more important. It’s the one thing we should all be able to agree on.

America won’t like any of the Truth they’re about to hear about Donald Trump. It won’t get any better than it already is.

But I bet America handles the Truth about Trump just fine. It won’t make us happy — not one bit. But we’ll batten down the hatches. We’ll handle the Truth about Donald Trump just fine. For sure, We The People will handle the Truth far, far better than Trump will.