"You Can't Handle the Truth"!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

In the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson utters a line of dialogue that has become as iconic as Bette Davis’ 1950 classic, “fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” in “All About Eve.” When Nicholson screamed out “You can’t Handle the truth!” on the witness stand in a court martial scene, he was in essence finally revealing the truth, warts and all. And Davis, in “All About Eve” was forecasting the building friction and stress that would eventually divide and destroy the fragile bonds holding friendships, emotions and truth in the balance.

“YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH”!

By Al Garcia

In the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson utters a line of dialogue that has become as iconic as Bette Davis’ 1950 classic, “fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” in “All About Eve.”  When Nicholson screamed out “You can’t Handle the truth!” on the witness stand in a court martial scene, he was in essence finally revealing the truth, warts and all.  And Davis, in “All About Eve” was forecasting the building friction and stress that would eventually divide and destroy the fragile bonds holding friendships, emotions and truth in the balance. 

Today all Americans are living unscripted lives that mirror Hollywood storylines with iconic dialogue and an unwritten ending.  Inevitably, one day this chapter in America’s history will be put on celluloid for future generations to cheer or jeer at, gasp at in disbelief, or cry at with utter contempt and disdain at the generation that failed the test of governance that each generation past had courageously passed forward -- maybe a bit tattered and frayed -- but intact and unbroken nonetheless. 

We are re-enacting America’s Blue and Gray period – the Civil War, with a couple of major differences. This time, the colors are Red and Blue, and the leaders of these two periods distinguishably at opposite ends of the ideological, intellectual and political spectrums. This time around we are witnesses to the spectacle that is about to unfold. And as Bette Davis said, “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride."

In the Blue and Gray period, Abraham Lincoln was assaulted by the rising hostilities of an ideologically evolving and transitioning nation.  And it was during this time that he grew in maturity, statute and experience, because of his great intelligence, communication skills, humility, sense of purpose, sense of humor, fundamentally moderate nature, and his ability to remain focused on the big picture.

In our Red and Blue period, our ex-President deliberately enflamed a nation into factions and cliques that has stirred and reawakened the ambers of long dormant bigotry, hatred, intolerance and apathy.  Once again, bother is pitted against brother and neighbor against neighbor.  And once again the pendulum of man’s obscenity with power and greed has swung beyond the bounds of common decency and civility. 

But while Lincoln grew in mind and spirit during the Blue and Gray epoch of our past, today, during this tumultuous Red and Blue episode in our political history, our ex-President only intensified his rhetoric and pomposity, and became a consummate Twitter-blaster of outlandish and bizarre proportions, further fanning the flames of division and rupturing the bounds that has sustained and maintained our nation and our leadership in the world.

Truth be damned! is the new battle cry of one faction, while the other group bemoans and laments the dying echoes of the greatness that we once were.  Unlike before, when great leaders rose to the occasion of our nation’s cry, today our leaders huddle in silence in darkened rooms, their hands covering their ears so as not to hear the death pangs of a dying democracy. 

When did we become a nation of deaf and dumb loyalists instead of the patriots and champions of truth, liberty and justice that had for so long sustained and enriched our character and our strength as individuals and as a nation? 

Now I hear, through words, actions and deeds from those in power, who are telling us to listen only to them, because “You can’t handle the truth!”  They’ll tell us what to believe, what to say, and what to think – listening only to each group’s talking points.  Have we become unwitting disciples of our political leaders, just like those who blindly followed Jim Jones, Charles Manson, David Koresh and countless other self-anointed leaders? 

Listen to your heart and to your instincts.  Look at the facts before you, not those hidden from your view.  Then, ask yourself a couple of questions about who you are following, and why: 

  1.  Does the person you’re listening to have a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve?
  1.  Are they preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power or brilliance?
  1. Do they demand blind, unquestioned obedience?
  1. Do they require excessive admiration from followers and outsiders?
  1. Do they have a sense of entitlement – expecting to be treated special at all times?
  1. Are they arrogant and or act superior in their behavior or attitude?
  1. Do they have an exaggerated sense of power that allows them to bend the rules and break laws?
  1. Do they take sexual advantage of others without regard or sensitivity?
  1. Are they hypersensitive to how they are perceived by others?
  1. Do they publicly devalue others as being inferior, incapable or not worthy?
  1. Are they frequently boastful of their accomplishments?
  1. Do they need to be the center of attention and does things to distract others to ensure that they are being noticed by others?
  1. Do they seem not to listen well to the needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates?
  1. Do they behave as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain?
  1. When criticized, do they tend to lash out not just with anger but with rage?
  1. Do they label anyone who criticizes or questions them an “enemy”?
  1. Do they treat others with contempt or arrogance?
  1. Are they constantly assessing those who are a threat or those who revere them?
  1. Are they oblivious of how often he references himself in conversations or speeches?
  1. Do they hate to be embarrassed or fail publicly, and when they are or do, do they act out with rage?
  1. Do they believe they and only they possess the answers and solutions to world problems?
  1. Do they believe themselves to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity?
  1. Do they seem to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments?

If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions and still feel obligated or unable to seek facts and answers for yourself, then it is obvious that You Can’t Handle the Truth, and you are best where you are – a follower and not a thinker. 

Manson, Jones, Koresh all possessed most of the traits listed above.  And many may ask, how could anyone follow someone with just one of those flaws or traits, must less all?  Manson, Jones and Koresh answered that question – you follow them to the very end.

We are at a time in our history that will decide our legacy to our children and to the world.  Will we blindly follow, or will our character, our strength and our nobility open our eyes and our ears to the truth that will keep us free? 

I know I can handle the truth, just like my father and his father before him.  Can you?


Submitted: May 26, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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