Two disparate story lines in our living rooms these days seem - at least to me - twin warnings about one of the most dangerous failures occurring in our society. Ignoring fact, while believing lies. Maybe you’ve put it together, too. It’s a seeming connection between Benghazi and police shootings.
The dangerous commonality is this: in both cases, hardcore groups have - without fact or even in the face of fact - determined an outcome and will accept no other. Until either faction sees headlines supporting their view - accurate or flat earth crazy - neither will surrender to any other reality.
In the case of Benghazi, there’s that kamikaze mentality among Republican loons that they’ve been lied to from the get-go. They absolutely “know” they’ve been deliberately deceived by Democrats who’ve “destroyed evidence” while creating a Satanic lie about what happened that fateful night in Libya. They “know” “murders” of American heroes have been covered up to save face for the Obama administration. They’ll accept nothing less - not one penny short - of the full “truth” they and they alone have seen since the shots were fired. Benghazi was treason!
And facts? Well, facts be damned! But FACTS there are. And if you know none of the others by which to make a rational, informed decision about Benghazi, all you need to know is ONE fact: there have been six - six - full-on, quite independent investigations costing tens of millions of dollars. The same event has been microscopically examined - beginning-to-end - by a State Department team - another by the Defense Department - a bi-partisan congressional oversight committee - an independent blue-ribbon group given total access to all information held by anyone - two exclusively by Republicans in one guise or another - and the seventh - another Republican witch hunt is currently working feverishly with spades in hand.
But it’s that sixth top-to-bottom scouring by Republicans - led by one of the most Democrat-hating GOPers - that should have buried Benghazi once and for all: the Issa committee. After two years trying to find something - a shred of incriminating evidence against anyone not of the Republican cloth - this last effort to find proof of a foregone belief of “treachery and treason” should have slammed the door. No evidence. Against anyone. Of any political persuasion. None. Zip. Nada. Officially. In writing!
No. No, now there’s yet another GOP-led group going at it again. No matter Issa and his minions have contaminated any future finding from this new bunch. The sounds of shovels can still be heard in the night coming from the GOP caucus room. Supporters - Limbaugh, Beck, Lindsey Graham and others - wait outside in the dark - pitchforks at hand and torches ready to light. They - and only they - know the Benghazi “truth.”
Then Ferguson. And Boston. And Cincinnati. And New York. Nowhere can you find better “how-not-to” examples of ignorant police administration and conduct. Nor a more treacherous display of prosecutorial abuse of office than we’ve witnessed in Ferguson. Conduct of local authorities that’s plainly outrageous. Some will be - and some are- the focus of outside investigations and there’ll be more than a few prosecutions.
And that Benghazi link? As in the case of those determined to create “facts” to justify their absolute certainties of what happened in Libya, so too, in these police shootings, many folks simply decided what “really happened” and will accept nothing less than support for what they “know.” Nothing.
The Benghazi-like similarity I see is with those in the Missouri, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania streets who - like the D.C. witch-hunters and others with conspiratorial mentalities - will not accept any outcome of any case differing one iota from “facts” they alone know. “Truths” they alone “understand.” Many - far too many - of these folks are unable or unwilling to deal with reality.
When people are determined to disbelieve, they will disbelieve. No amount of fact - no amount of evidence - no amount of truth will alter perceptions. All that can be done is for reasonable people to make reasonable efforts and, when that is done, move on. Talk time is over.
With unlimited resources and the power of federal subpoenas in both hands, Darrell Issa could not overcome the true facts of Benghazi. A superhuman effort in pursuit of an outcome that didn’t exist was a monumental waste of time and money. The destructive crowds in city streets are on a similar fool’s errand.
Issa had only the court of public opinion left. He lost there. Credibility. Integrity. Worthiness. Any residual value to his constituency. He’s a liar and a fool and will have to console himself with just being the richest member of Congress.
Protestors of police actions - if their protests are legitimate - have at least state and federal laws to stand upon and can attract other, more informed and more honest government and private support to their side. They still have a future in which they can prevail. And, maybe change some minds.
But not if they continue to follow other “Issa” delusionists and hold to “facts” legitimately discredited by truth. Reality is not Fox “News.”