Present Tense

Both Things Can Be True

Something to keep in mind as we try to navigate these confusing times:

Both things can be true

We tend toward binary arguments, decisions and opinions.  We take one side or the other and keep repeating our narratives and talking points, while the other person does the same.

We fight a battle of internet links where we throw them at each other like like spitballs that never land on either side. Hell, we don’t even read the links that we spew at others. “The headline looks like they might agree with me, so what the hell….”

Every opinion or narrative that we believe and the opposing ones, have truth in them.

For instance, I condemn the destruction and violence that’s cropped up during the recent protests. I really do, however, I don’t compare destruction of property with loss of life.

Loss of livelihood does not compare with loss of life.

So, I am devastated by the violence, but I’m also devastated by the video of George Floyd being murdered.

I’m devastated by the destruction to people’s livelihoods, but I’m all for large protests. Both things can be true.

I believe that police are a vital component in a functioning society, while also believing that excessive force that disproportionately affects black communities must be reformed and fixed. Both things can be true.

Use this with EVERY argument. It holds. It involves asking questions; of yourself and the person/idealology that you think you disagree with.

We must think critically now, because there is SO MUCH misinformation, censorship and manipulation combined with heightened emotion. It’s like the fog of war and it’s dangerous if we don’t question everything and try to get at all sides of a situation.

Just like with Covid, the initial ‘reports’ are evolving as more facts and data come out. Our job as citizens and as moral/ethical human beings, is to think, ask questions and take a few beats before we automatically place blame or take sides or dig in, refusing to learn.

Truth is fluid. Truth is often in the eye of the beholder based on life experiences, what media we consume, etc.

Both things can be true…make it your mantra. We need everyone to think clearly and rationally now and that is really the last thing that the ‘powers that be’ want.

That alone,  makes me want to prove them WRONG.

June 4, 2020 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Again, so well said, Jane! People who see gray are able to do this more easily than those who see the world as black and white—hence the tension between my older sister and me. We try to keep this in mind whenever we discuss current events.

    Comment by Cori Jackamore | June 4, 2020 | Reply

  2. Your right the destruction and looting is not right and is generated by a few radical groups or by individuals that nothing really matters but their own self interest.
    Life matters most whether it’s CoVid 19 or rouge police committing murder. There is good and bad in everything. I do believe the good is about to show it’s face in this younger generation, they will not let go until the good shines through. I wish them the best and may the whole world wake up and see that hate is wrong. It’s time for real change and we must care and take care of everyone and everything on this earth.

    Comment by Anita | June 4, 2020 | Reply

    • One other thing that I like to tell myself is that often we don’t even KNOW that something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ until it fully unfolds. We often don’t know in the moment. Which is why we all need to take a step back before deciding. It’s all about our response to events, rather than our judgement, I guess is what i’m saying…Thanks so much for your comment. I agree with you about the younger generations. It’s their time.

      Comment by janelondon | June 4, 2020 | Reply

  3. Hi Jane I feel like I know you. My name Is Cathy. I listened to you and Dom every time I could. I missed your thoughts and out look
    on things .I am so happy you have a blog..And I think you are right about taking a step back

    Comment by Cathy M Hickman | June 4, 2020 | Reply

  4. I feel lucky to know you and you have helped me try to navigate through the crap more times than you realize. Am I wrong to think that yesterday was a good day as we have some logical push-back from influential people? As well as people of all ages and races filling the streets in peaceful protest. Is it possible that we have in some cases mis-read our younger generation? I sure liked what I saw yesterday. One day at a time.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd | June 4, 2020 | Reply

    • Well, Tim the way I’m looking at it, is to look at long term goals…and to look at trends…a one-off day is lovely, but that’s all it is…one day. We have years of this, but we do have to find those little gems of progress or movement as they present themselves. Having said that, the sooner we develop the “don’t know” minds that I’m describing in the post, the sooner we will climb out of this into a new era.

      Comment by janelondon | June 4, 2020 | Reply

  5. Thank you Jane, this is one of your best pieces ever, and it expresses an important concept (“both can be true”) that is widely being overlooked in most of the commentary I’ve recently read. (and I’m a journalism junkie, for many years subscribing to both liberal and conservative media). I wish this essay had a broader audience than your blog. Have you submitted it to be in any other news media? Consider this a prod to do so!

    Comment by Kerry Clendenen | June 5, 2020 | Reply

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