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Fact check, maybe?

The world has changed over the last 5 years. The world today feels more polarized and divided, than it has in recent history. There are deep-seated divisions in our society, which come to the fore every day in the form of resentment, biases, abuse and hatred.

But in the race to form, express and defend opinions, we have forgotten the importance of something integral that helps us form opinions: Facts.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."         -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Facts do not belong to a political party, a social position, a religious group or a country. Facts are universal, substantiated, proven with evidence, and grounded in truth. Quite simply, facts are the truth.

We do not have to agree on our beliefs and opinions, but we must ascribe to the same facts. Facts form one of the tentpoles of a society. While our scientific and industrial prowess separates us from other living organisms, our disdain for antithetical facts tears apart millennia of progress.

Facts that do not conform to our opinions may be uncomfortable, and our immediate instinct often is to defend our opinions, but that doesn't turn facts into fable.

The world has changed over the last 5 years. Social media has given all of us a voice to share and connect, but also given the worst elements among us a platform to showcase their anger. In times of fake news, it is all the more important that facts take precedence. While there is enough information to suit any line opinion one may have, sorting fact from fiction sometimes feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. But isn't that also why we must?

Taking claims put forth by politicians with a grain of salt, becomes even more important in a polarizing atmosphere that seeks to divide to earn votes. It is easy to believe lies, which is why, 'A lie will go round the world while truth is putting its boots on.' (C. H. Spurgeon, not Mark Twain or Winston Churchill. Fact check.)

Speaking truth to power remains one of the most important adages of a citizenry that desires to keep their democratic governments in check. And truth must be rooted in facts, always.


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