Al Cashion: Convinced against his will — Part II

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Al Cashion

Revisionist historians must be some of the filmmakers’ most rabid consumers.

There are quite a few historical pieces with rather unsubstantiated but strongly nuanced narratives that tend to pronounce a culturally modern thought on an issue or person of old.

There are some, believe it or don't, that have revisionist effort that is not a bad thing. Discoveries and documents heretofore unknown often paint a noble person or cause as being all the more admirable and bad guys worse than we may have suspected.

As I discovered in books, newspapers, lectures and just about any form of communication — including casual conversation — the intent to persuade is a rather common human agenda. We feel better about ourselves when we can convince another we are right.

It is not necessarily a bad thing at all, though. I attempted to persuade my daughters using various methodologies and means of communication toward my goal as a parent. I never figured out what worked best, or even what worked at all. They became wonderful mothers, wives and human beings in spite of my persuasion.

It didn't take 38 years of marriage to Swumbo to figure out that any persuasion intended for her must be in the direction to which she was so inclined. It did take much longer than it needed to though — I have high pain tolerance.

Persuasion is actually a responsibility. Those living under the weight of another's lie should be persuaded to truth. It's neighborly.

In some documentaries, however, the attempt to persuade seems to be the supreme objective regardless. Anything and everything is subject to that one goal.

To convince you of their position, "white" lies, harmless lies, bold lies and malicious manipulation become tools as necessary as the camera.

They have a side they are on. They have an agenda they must achieve. The passion for the final product, for you to come to the dark side, leaves everything subject to sacrifice.

If truth be a barrier, cast it aside. If truth is uncomfortable, twist and turn it till it's cozy with our view and supports our cause.

Regretfully, we have the First Amendment. Yes, it allows whomever to say whatever to film whatever or to speak as true that which ain't.

I know. Bummer.

So far, the First Amendment is yours and mine as well. If you have a goal or agenda you believe worthy and beneficial for you and your fellow man, preach on brother.

But be judicious with your own motives and methods. Apply a healthy dose of introspection to your evangelistic cause. That which you feel strongly enough to attempt to persuade others in is deserving of the internal struggle.

In order to espouse your agenda, do you utilize little lies? Is there a few areas that you must gloss over or deny for your message?

Some inconvenient truths can be seemingly innocent and innocuous, I know. I've had those aplenty.

I spoke of them authoritatively and without questioning, only to discover later that I had read, heard or saw something that supported my persuasion and I digested it whole without giving thought or research. Should the hearer discover my error, my whole message becomes barren.

Some are so intent on the end goal that truth has little influence and causes little concern. This is the last step before forced coercion.

When one has so little value in another human being and so much pride in self that an intentional lie or forced coercion by whatever means seems the logical next step, then one is only separated from Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Chris Matthews or Bill O'Reilly by a lack of prominence and power.

Sheer arrogance and exceeding pride are motivators to lies and coercion. Blind devotion to a cause can initiate lying to be justified. A drastically closed mind can open a desire to control others to seeing things "my way."

But wisdom states, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

If your cause is just then win the man, not the argument.

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