First of all, I believe in facts and by extension I believe in truth. I don’t discount the reality that different people can draw different conclusions from the same set of facts, but I also believe that some truthful statements can be made in any situation. Even in such a contentious scenario as a divorce, it can truthfully be stated that the marriage didn’t survive. When we get into the territory of blame, clearly different conclusions can be reached, preventing us from saying it was all one person’s fault. More facts may give us an increasingly detailed picture of the facts of the marriage, but the truth of the marriage, while existent, cannot be definitively reached by anyone.
Why am I going on so about facts and truth? At the moment in the United States facts and truth seem to be up for debate. Partly, in the case of historical narratives, I think this happens because we become aware of other facts and other points of view. In Plymouth, for instance, I learned much more about the indigenous people living in the area as the Pilgrims arrived. Clearly one truth is that it was very disruptive for the first inhabitants. That truth was hidden when I was presented a scene of a peaceful first Thanksgiving with everyone happily sharing a meal. More facts challenged this narrative. But truth didn’t suddenly disappear.
What about opinion? Here we need, I believe, to have plenty of humility. You and I may both be presented with a set of facts, for instance about trade with China. We can study exports, imports, tariffs and other sundry bits of information. At the end each of us can have an opinion. I may think tariffs are a bad idea. You may think they are beneficial. No matter how strongly either of us makes our points, neither of us will have THE truth on the subject. The only truth available at the moment is what has happened so far. No one can accurately state the truth about the future. We can only hold an opinion.
Sadly, we are presently heatedly yelling at each other over opinions. Yes, it is difficult to know the facts of the Mueller report since we haven’t been allowed to read it. We are caught like children in a divorce with only each parent’s side available. But at some point I hope the American people will have access to a well documented, lengthy examination of the effect by Russia on American elections. We need to know. We are voting again next year. And that is the truth!