“Truth is not only violated by falsehood;

it may be equally outraged by silence.”

-Henri Frederic Amiel, philosopher and writer (27 Sep 1821-1881)

I was asked to swear an oath at a public hearing last week. I declined and pointed out that Vermont law includes affirmation in legal proceedings where testimony is given. The chairperson acquiesced to my demand.

Not swearing oaths to be truthful is directly linked to Quaker history and George Fox. It was a hard won legal battle that caused the imprisonment of countless Quakers. The double standard that society holds that it is perfectly fine to lie unless you are under oath is one that early Friends aspired to overcome. The testimony of Truth is one that is held dearly by many Friends, including myself.

That society allows leaders to lie with impunity is a problem for me. There can not be trust without truth. Daniel Ellsburg, Edward Snowden, and other courageous whistleblowers have shown us the extent to which our leaders are willing to lie to us in spite of the human rights and lives that are lost. Donald Trump is one of a long line of military and political leaders that believe the truth is what they say it is. History shows us, sometimes years, sometimes decades, sometimes centuries later that they are wrong.

What can you do about this? To paraphrase some time worn adages; “be the Truth you want to see in the world” and “Let there be Truth in the world and let it begin with me”. You must take the first step to change the world and hold yourself and our leaders to a higher standard.

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