Our founder’s messy truths

Armstrong Williams | 7/11/2019, 6:48 p.m.
As we enter the 243rd year since our nation’s founding, there are signs of decline. One of the most pernicious ...
Armstrong Williams

In international affairs, these values come into more contentious conflict. The Obama administration and the EU negotiated a deal with Iran with regards to its development of nuclear war capabilities. In keeping with long-standing American policy on nonproliferation, as well as American obligations with regards to allies in the Middle East, we drew a line in the sand on Iran’s obtaining nuclear weapons. This policy had been both advocated and upheld by successive U.S. governments as far back as President Carter.

When the Obama administration made a fragile peace with Iran, including concessions to Iran on sanctions and release of previously held funds, it was assumed that this would stay Iran’s nuclear ambitions and usher in an era of peace of prosperity in the Middle East. It may have achieved the former, but it failed to achieve the latter. Iran continued to meddle politically and militarily in the affairs of our allies—in Turkey, in Lebanon in Syria and in Israel. With sanctions removed, it was able to do so far more effectively. The current administration eventually abrogated the treaty with Iran even though Iran remained technically in compliance with its obligations.

The media presented the decision to exit the treaty as the current administration’s revenge against the both the previous administration and against Iran. It was not based on truth, media pundits argued, but based on “alternative facts.” What was not highlighted in the media is how Iran could both comply in letter with its obligations under the treaty, while violating its spirit in practice.

It turns out, unlike Jefferson had written that truth is often more than the sum of facts. Truth carries the weight of prior history. It must account for context, pretext and subtext. Truth, it turns out, is not as easily distilled from science as our founders might have believed. A “fact” can mask a lie. And the truth can be messy. Everyone in our political landscape has fallen prey to the simplistic seduction that facts equal truth—our partisan majorities, the disfavored parties, the media and our elected officials. However, ignoring the surrounding realities ultimately betrays the diligent search for truth bequeathed to us by our forefathers.

Armstrong Williams is manager/sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the year. Listen to Williams on Sirius XM126 Urban View nightly 6 to 8 p.m. EST. Follow me on Twitter @arightside