No! There are NOT two sides to every story!

20 06 2019

when-they-see-usPeople say it all the time, particularly when they are attempting to display an openness to other people’s perspective on something.  In an attempt to acknowledge that one person’s impression is just that — ONE person’s impression — and to make room for other opinions, they are quick to proclaim that there are always . . . “two sides to every story.”

But there are NOT two sides to every story!  There are MANY sides to every story.  In fact, there are likely as many sides to a story as there are people recounting the story.  Because we all see things differently, what we remember and recount and how we interpret and translate events, will vary from person to person.  And so sometimes, perhaps often, this phrase is needed to remind us that we do not live in a ‘black and white’ world, and that differences abound.

But lately, this phrase is being used to excuse, justify, and condone perspectives that are not just different, but that are downright wrong!  And no where is this more evident that in conversations about the new Netflix series “When they see us.”

Too many people have begun to claim that Ava Duvernay’s account of what happened only gives . . . one side of the story.  The young boys who were accused of the rape in Central Park in 1989 were NOT questioned without their parents.  They were NOT coerced into making false statements or confessions.  DNA evidence that exonerated the boys was NOT overlooked.  And they were NOT targeted, arrested, and charged because of the color of their skin.

Fortunately, over and over again these statements are being refuted, and evidence is revealing them to be nothing but lies!  So while the prosecutor in the case, Linda Fairstein, continues to try and offer  a ‘second side’ to the story, her ‘side’ is wrong!  It’s not another perspective.  It’s not another way to view what happened.  It’s simply wrong!  The systemic racism that led to the imprisonment of five innocent boys cannot be denied or dismissed simply because someone believes that there is “another side to the story.”

“The Civil War was not about slavery, it was about states’ rights.”  “Hitler’s reign was not about exterminating the Jewish people, it was about uniting all the Germanic people of the world and restoring Germany’s greatness on the world stage.”  “There were good people on both sides of Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” riot of 2018.”

None of these statements are accurate ‘sides’ to any of the stories they are referencing.  And just because people hold to them, passionately and vociferously, doesn’t make them true or acceptable.  In the words of Booker T. Washington, “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good,” just because someone claims it to be an acceptable perspective.

Just as love is love is love; so too wrong is wrong is wrong.

In her book, “The Death of Truth,” former New York Times Book Critic Michiko Kakutani writes “the ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, and the distinction between true and false no longer exist.”

We are living in dangerous days;  where truth is regularly being exchanged for lies, and where where there being many sides to a story is leading people to blindly accept the unacceptable!  In my version of Romans 1: 29-32: “we’ve embraced evil: by thinking the Civil War and Civil Rights legislation have repaired America’s systemic racism; and we have hated God, by hating — by lynching, by profiling, by redlining, by criminalizing — siblings who do not look like us.  We’ve been foolishly led astray; and our faithlessness deserves to die!”

No!  There are NOT two sides to every story.  There are many sides.  And some of them are wrong.  And wrong, is wrong, is wrong.


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