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The Truth about History

The Search for Meaning in Life

Article 2

History is not set in stone. Only God really knows what happened back in so-and-so's day. Just as six people witnessing the same accident can describe it totally different, so it is with history. There is always going to be interpretation. As long as your interpretation stays within the bounds of the uncontested facts, you've got no problem.

What has happened in the last twenty or so years is that film directors have taken it upon themselves to ignore the facts, contested or not, and rewrite history according to their own political agenda. That is dishonest and shows a lack of integrity. Politicians and even historians are doing the same thing.

I do think there is a gray area that is legitimately the domain of the imaginative writer. In the movie Second Hand Lions, Walter (Haley Joel Osment) is worrying whether the stories that Garth (Michael Caine) has been telling him about Hub (Robert Duvall) are true or not. In the defining moment of the film, Hub tells him that it doesn't matter. He says, some things are worth believing in whether they're true or not. We should believe in them because they're the things WORTH believing in. He is in essence defining what trust is. It is believing in something before we see it. Our faith is what makes it real.

He's right. When you believe in someone's character, even if everyone else in the world does not, that's all that matters. When you believe in a principle, even if everyone else in the world does not, that's all that matters. When you believe in a fact, even if everyone else in the world piles lie upon lie proving it is not true, you continue believing in it.

Isn't that what happens in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington? The opposition brings into the legislature telegram after telegram from Mr. Smith's state telling him he is wrong and to stop what he is doing, but he doesn't listen. He continues standing on the truth as he sees it, because, in his mind and heart, what he is doing is right.

That's what it means to believe in something. If we truly believe in America, we want to believe the good things about her and the men who formed her. People are always wanting to tear down what is good in order to make way for what is evil. They want to tear down good men's reputations, and they do it with "facts." I don't care what the "facts" are. If I believe in someone's character and life, I will present my own set of facts as best I see them. If they don't line up with the "facts" of the liers, cheats and thieves, too bad.

There is a right way and a wrong way to look at everything. We should always choose the right way, regardless of the facts. Truth - not "facts" - is what's important.


Waitsel Smith, April 29, 2007

Text © 2007 Waitsel Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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