A Lack of Truth

One historical concept that I found most interesting in Wednesday’s class was the the Athenian courtroom. In the Athenian Courtroom, the decision of the case (which was in reality a large jury’s decision) was a vote taken after hearing a speech given by the prosecutor and the defendant. Both citizens had a short amount of time to plead their case. This meant both sides would often appeal to the jury’s emotional side rather than using facts or logic to win their case. They would forgo the truth if it meant they could get more sympathy from the jury and, possibly, win the case.

To me, this idea of appealing to an audience’s emotions instead of providing them with facts and figures is a staple in modern politics. The audience doesn’t want to hear about the reality of a candidate’s plan or what sources they are using for their verbal attacks against their opponents. In debates, speeches, and press statements, political candidates say what is most appealing to their followers even if their isn’t a shred of truth contained in their words. The supporters of each candidate doesn’t expect their candidate to tell the truth because they already believe everything they say without question. Truth has become an afterthought in the modern political game. Now, the questioning of the truthfulness of a candidate’s statement (by either the news or the opposition) is viewed by the candidate and the supporters as a personal attack that has to be met with denial and slander against the accusers. While decades ago any time a candidates truthfulness was questioned the candidate would have to defend themselves, today any accusations of falsehood can be shrugged off with enough denial and accusations of unfairness that get their supporters further behind their campaign. The political system, much like the Athenian courtroom, now relies on appealing to an audiences basic emotions instead of convincing them with truth.

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