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(Charles Colton)

I feel that these are exhausting times in which to live.

Seeking truth, “come whence it may, cost what it will,” which has become a mantra for me, requires more effort than ever before. 

To get at the heart of any issue requires hours, if not days, of research before I feel well enough informed to form a coherent, well documented conclusion on any given matter due to the rhetoric that is spun at every turn. It’s like being a miner, chipping away for eons before a nugget of truth finally becomes apparent. It’s there, but buried under the biases and opinions that have to be removed before it can be seen. 

And that’s before the refining process even begins. 

That’s when I take this hard earned semblance of what is real and then have to find a way to refine it, and attempt to burn away my own prejudices, before I can truly behold it, and understand it, and claim it.

By the time the process is finished, the world has already moved on to something else. Usually several issues have been in the spotlight since my initial search began and I have no time to rest my weary mind before I begin yet another quest. 

I think, for a lot of people, that search for truth is just too damn hard. The tendency is to go with a set of beliefs they already have, look for confirmation bias, and hold to an opinion based on those things and never really consider another viewpoint or the people that offer them. They are secure in their version of truth, however sloppily they arrived there.

However, I also think more truth seekers are emerging. If this were not so, why do you suppose “fact checking” has become such a thing? People do want truth, but they’re still learning that it takes a view from more than one angle to see the whole picture.

I’ve seen people speak about subjects and base their opinions solely on what they, alone, have seen or not seen. And that’s no way to get at truth. 

Seeking truth means getting out of the comfort zone of your own thoughts and critically considering them in the light of other opinions, the facts as far as they can be researched, and then weighing them against some moral code of right and wrong.

And by doing that, one still manages to have an edge of bias, because not every person gets their moral code from the same place. Also, our personal experiences resonate so loudly, so skew our perceptions, that it is extremely hard to try and cut them away from the issue at hand. 

This week, I watched a female senator told, not asked, to take her seat for violation of a rule that was brought forth for the sole purpose of shutting her up, and forcing through a choice for Attorney General that was being debated.

When I first saw the video clip, it sparked an inner rage that I hold from the viewpoint as a woman, and brought to mind every time I have ever been “shushed” by a man simply because he didn’t like what I was saying. It was a trigger for many women, not just myself, of times when we have been singled out and reprimanded with a double standard. Senators insult each other all the time, either directly or indirectly, and if the importance of Rule XIX is of such concern to our elected officials, I hope they will begin to invoke it so often that the Senate has to shut down for days at a time because the whole lot of them has been silenced. Maybe then they will all learn how to debate in earnest, without resorting to fingerpointing and theatrical displays of false piety.

There are those who will get caught up in the politics of this situation. They don’t like one side or the other and they’ll start in with the character of every senator involved and that’s not my point, so as you read this, I implore you not to go there. 

I’ve said before that I read and read about an issue before I write about it. This is no different. I have read both sides – those that created the slogan, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”as well those who think it was high time somebody finally told this senator to sit down and shut up.

Whether you believe something exists or not, does not mean it isn’t real for someone else. The senator in question, right or wrong, had concerns about this appointment of our President, and she was expressing those concerns. Her motives, her opinion – these things are not the point of my post. Because, quite honestly, I don’t have the energy go there. And her politics, and those from the other side, are not my real concern in this particular situation.

The point of my post is this: What right does anyone else have to silence someone in a quest for truth?

Was she holding up the vote? Yes. Was she bringing up potentially damning remarks about the appointee? Yes. But if you think this is the first time that has happened in the history of these types of debate, I sincerely feel sorry for your naivety.

And what has many outraged are the facts that there appeared to be a gender double standard that was used against Senator Warren, and that this administration has launched a campaign to silence its critics at every turn. One need only to recognize the malicious contempt that our President has for the “mainstream” media to see that. He would have it that only good things are printed about him. And it’s alarming to contemplate just what measures he might pursue to ensure that is the case.  

Do I like for people to criticize me? Question me? Not particularly, no. But accountability is necessary when you’ve been elected to a position on the public stage. And whether our president is black or white, liberal or conservative, there MUST be accountability for his decisions, and that is simply common sense.

I do not wish to be spoon fed someone else’s idea of the truth. I’ll spit it out every time. 

I’m sure that Rule XIX was created for a good reason, and I’m not saying it should never be invoked. But it shouldn’t be because someone else can’t handle the conversation happening around them. Our senators are in session to do an job. And presenting opposition to nominees that they feel do not represent the best interest of their constituents is part of that job.

You can love her or hate her, that is not the point. If the roles were reversed, the outrage from those affected would be palpable. Just as it was this week. 

The world is not often kind to truth seekers. In particular, politicians and religious leaders and reporters from all angles are not often kind to truth seekers, and probably never will be.

The search for truth is to travel a lonely road. I pray we all, whatever our political or religious affiliation, find the strength and courage to continue the journey, the quest for truth, no matter who tries to silence us along the way. No matter the cost, no matter the ridicule, it is our own personal responsibility to find it. And shame on those who would hinder that. 

May we all persist.

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