The truth matters was originally published in the Feedback section of Rochester CITY Newspaper (1/19/2017)
Donald Trump applauded Vladimir Putin for not quickly retaliating against Obama’s sanctions over Russia’s cyberattacks during the election.
“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump tweeted.
Obviously, this is not the first time the president-elect praised the Russian leader. After receiving Putin’s endorsement during a vital stage in the campaign, Trump declared, “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”
In response to this flattery, Putin went one step further: “He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that… He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.”
Let us set aside the allegations, conspiracies, and pride and prejudice. How can it not matter to Putin’s supporters — including the president-elect — that he is a cold- blooded kleptomaniac who oversees the world’s largest mafia state?
How can it not matter to them that Putin violently eliminates anyone or any group that tries to oppose him? How can it not matter that in a 2015 Democracy Index study, Economist magazine classified Russia as “authoritarian” and ranked it 132nd out of 167 countries?
How can it not matter that Putin condoned the use of bunker-busting bombs to destroy underground hospitals and safety zones in Syria? He is a war criminal and vicious enemy of human rights. How can that not matter?
Perhaps Nietzsche said it best: “There are various eyes. Even the Sphinx has eyes: and as a result there are various truths, and as a result there is no truth.”
But the truth matters to me. I care about those kids in Syria. I care about those journalists and reporters who have been killed for doing their job. I care about my homosexual brothers and sisters who are persecuted for being themselves. I care about a free press. I care about human rights.
That matters to me. The truth matters to me. It may not matter to Putin and Trump, but it sure as hell matters to me.
GEORGE CASSIDY PAYNE
Founder, Gandhi Earth Keepers International