To the editor:
A recent position of this newspaper was to “saturate the ground with truth” as a means for fighting disinformation.
A tougher task might be to rebuild the common ground from which the truth was once easier to appreciate.
Consider the case of the current president. The man who focuses on himself amid a rising coronavirus death toll remains for some a man of empathy and compassion. The man who is a bystander to repeated scenes of official violence against citizens of color remains for some a defender of law and order. The man who flirts with gutting Social Security remains for some a champion of the average American. The man who uses the Bible as a prop remains for some an agent of the divine. The man who allows a foreign leader to put a bounty on American troops and who disdains military service somehow remains, for some people, worthy of the title of commander-in-chief.
Fighting disinformation means being responsible in separating the sensible from the self-serving. Philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “We acquire the strength we have overcome.” If we can overcome the strength of factions and fears, like the pull of a deadly rip current, we can emerge from the sea of disinformation more ready to deal with the challenges that face all peoples.