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  • Last modified 26 days ago (Nov. 10, 2021)

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The best lie is
telling half the truth

Half-truths are no truth at all. Nothing proves that more clearly than a letter this week from a reader concerned that we don’t understand patriotism and liberty and a social media posting by a mayor who’s made a career out of deceptive statements.

The editorial to which the reader responded dealt with conflict between doing one’s patriotic duty to protect fellow citizens and exercising self-indulgent freedom to put the health of others at risk by refusing to be vaccinated or wear masks.

The letter quickly devolves into a fear-mongering warning about how a Virginia student was raped by a supposedly fluid transsexual in a bathroom that did not bar such students.

That sounds terrible — until, as Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story.

Virginia court records indicate that the students involved voluntarily had engaged in intercourse several times before. They had agreed on the day in question to meet in the restroom, where they had had sex before. This time, one of them contends, the assailant didn’t ask and proceeded to have oral sex without permission.

If true, that’s a sinful failure on the part of the alleged assailant and a clear indictment of school officials for repeatedly allowing sexual activity in restrooms. But it has little if anything to do with whether one of the students was in the process of becoming transgender and wouldn’t have been stopped by any sort of rule requiring students to use only the restrooms for the genders to which they were born.

The second half-truth comes from a social media posting Friday by Marion mayor David Mayfield, who contends we erred by stating that Family Dollar and Dollar Tree would receive a free lot. In fact, he admits in the same posting that the lot will be free. The contract itself mentions how the city was “donating” the lot.

The mayor contends that a street to be built for the store at city expense will not be paid for by taxpayers because the money will come from sales tax receipts. Just who does he think pays sales tax?

He goes on to contend that the street would cost only $60,000. Before publishing what we originally wrote, we checked with city administrator Roger Holter, who expressed annoyance about being asked. He informed us: “The engineer’s estimate for the street to the back of lot could be as high as $109,100 for concrete and as high as $101,100 for asphalt… I went on to state a local concrete contractor estimated the cost to be around $62,000 to $63,000.” We quoted those figures, not the blithe, rounded-down, informal ballpark number the mayor chose to convey without context.

The mayor further states that the agreement imposes no restrictions whatsoever on remaining lots in the industrial park, but the agreement itself states that the city may not allow on adjoining lots any new “noxious…or other parking intensive uses” — things true industrial plants might well feature — for 15 years.

We aren’t opposed to patriotism, liberty, or economic development. We’re staunch supporters of all three. What we don’t support are those who try to whip up negativity by continually repeating half-truths they hope busy citizens won’t take the time or effort to check out.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified Nov. 10, 2021

 

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