Friday, March 16, 2012

Facts and opinions arenít the same

There is something wonderful about living in a country where each person can be secure with his or her own opinions. But just because someone has an opinion does not make it real. Opinions are opinions, but facts are facts.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, deserved thanks for an occasion in the last presidential election in which he told a supporter who was attacking then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for being a Muslim that his opponent was a decent man with whom he disagreed politically. When presidential contender Rick Santorum faces the same situation in today's ongoing Republican presidential primary campaign, he simply lets a supporter go on and on spewing out hatred. That's a fact.

Facts can be uncomfortable.

We're certain that Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who said that the nation needs higher gas prices, wishes he hadn't said that. It's unpleasant for him now, but it's also a fact.

It's also a fact that President Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim.

It's a fact that oil prices are set on the international markets, not solely in America's domestic market.

It's a fact that no matter what entrepreneur Donald Trump or even Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, President Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen of the U.S.

And it's a fact that there is nothing like death panels in the Affordable Care Act.

Scaring people to death may be good partisanship, but it hardly makes for good citizenship.

The nation's political situation is a mess because leading politicians seem more interested in defeating their opponents than in accomplishing much of any substance.

As citizens, we seem to be choosing to believe the most outlandish of things. For example, while it's true that Christians are persecuted in many places in Africa, it is nonsense to believe that they are persecuted here in the United States. Also, there are no laws about saying Merry Christmas, and that's a fact, no matter how much Newt Gingrich says otherwise.

If we are to be successful in maintaining our democracy, we are going to have to learn that opinions are one thing and facts are another. Your opinions are yours, but the facts are there for us all.

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