Steve Kurtz
~ It's a beautiful world ~

When you Lead with a Lie

April 25th, 2019

These memes have some truths in common:

  1. They were both shared on Facebook by friends of mine (I hope they are reading this).
  2. Each friend is on opposite sides of the political spectrum.
  3. Neither friend is the author of either meme.
  4. Both friends saw fit to share these memes as-is, with no explanation or opinion of their own.
  5. Both memes are outright lies. Neither of these people said what is quoted.

A lot of what’s going on these days is quite heated. Some of the lines are quite grey and subjective, while some lines are darker and clearer. For many issues, there are good points on either side – if you care to look. But people have become so passionate about their positions, they have fallen into a trap. That trap is the use and perpetuation of lies to help make their point. I get it. This stuff is important and they want people to understand their position. It’s tempting to start a conversation with a lie, because lies can be so compelling.

The problem is, it’s still a lie.

Too many people don’t bother to check to see if what they are sharing is real. And by sharing, they present themselves as if they believe it, especially if it’s shared without explanation or context (as were the above memes). What does that say about you? Do you want your friends to also believe the lie? What do you think your friends think about you sharing lies? Do you become the liar?

My real fear is that people WANT to believe what they are sharing, and that eventually they come to believe it as truth. The more people who believe lies, the more people will be willing to believe lies again, and again, and again. In this way, we all are being conditioned to believe lies, ultimately making it easier for people to lie to us. When people talk about normalizing lying, this is it. It’s a vicious circle that I wish we as a community could break.

Dear friends, I implore you. Do a little research into what you plan to share before you share/spread it. I respect that you have your own opinions and it’s important that you express them if you choose. But please don’t fall into the trap. Don’t keep the chain going. Don’t share the lies.  I’ve seen a couple of you doing it, and sometimes I’ve called you out.  And I’ll continue to do so. You can’t stop others from lying, but you can stop yourself. Lead with (share) your opinion – not lies.

Are there times when it’s OK to lie? OK, you got me. But when lies are destructive, toxic, divisive, make us hate, make us angry … it’s not OK. Those of you who know me know I’m an easy going person, but I’m finding my tolerance of lying (and defamation, and other popular extremist tactics) is wearing quite thin.

Let me leave you with this (apologies in advance to the tooth fairy and others):

When you lead with a lie, you encourage others to lie.
When you lead with a lie, you normalize lying.
When you lead with a lie, you more freely accept other people’s lies.
When you lead with a lie, you demean others by thinking they can be lied to with impunity.
When you lead with a lie, people begin to think everything you say could be a lie.
When you lead with a lie, your cause is discredited.
When you lead with a lie, you are discredited.
When you lead with a lie, you close doors.


Lead with the truth.

. . . .

For the record, I’ve copied/used the above memes out of their intended context and without permission. Should the original authors choose to come forward and claim their work, please speak up and claim them. I’m happy to call you out too.

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