who do you believe?

I keep wrestling with the following Q’s:

Who do you believe and why do you believe them?

Jussie Smollett…

Justin Fairfax…

[Pick a person… any person…]

Do I believe in someone because they are a man? … because they are a woman? … because they are black? … because they are white? … because they are gay? … because they are straight? … because they are conservative? … because they are liberal?

Do I believe them because I have a shared experience? … the expressed emotions are the same as mine?

Is there an aspect of their story or their situation or their personhood that resonates deeply within me?

Is there an aspect to which I am partial?

When Jussie Smollett’s story was initially shared — a man whose self-publicized account was that he was assaulted by two men of unidentified color who wore MAGA hats and shouted racial and homophobic slurs — did we decide what we believe about the story because we identify with a specific ethnicity, sexuality, or hatred of “Make America Great Again” hats?


Did we decide what we believe about the story because we do not identify with a specific ethnicity, sexuality, or hatred of those hats?

What about the nation’s supreme summer saga…

… Christine Blasey Ford… Brett Kavanaugh…

What decided what you believe?

Or the better question — and no doubt the harder question…

Was it something other than evidence?

(I just have a gut feel…)

In every circumstance or scenario, the potential for partiality exists; it often provokes deep emotion within us — emotion understandably tied to gender, ethnicity, or that shared experience. But when evidence becomes secondary to emotion — and the truth then becomes secondary to our judgment — we have a problem.

Our increasingly, rash, reactive culture seems to have flippantly dismissed the prudence in due process and the wisdom in the presumption of innocence; too many now say too often that such is unnecessary. Even the intelligent lambast what they have failed to take the time to completely comprehend. They lambast based on emotion — not evidence.

Remember the boys of Covington Catholic? … the teens who were panned by the Washington Post and multiple other news outlets, pundits, and celebrities a month ago? A third party investigation recently cleared the young men of any wrongdoing, saying they found no proof of “racist or offensive statements by students.” Those news outlets, pundits and celebrities — and even many of us — allowed our emotion to dictate our perception of truth. 

Let’s be clear, friends: perception does not equal truth.

Truth will always be most important.