These days, just about everywhere we look, we are being “halved.” For instance, half of all Americans have now had their COVID-19 vaccinations. (Half of the other half doesn’t believe in vaccinations.) According to one recent opinion poll, half of Republican voters still think the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen from Trump. Half of the rest of us can’t believe this is happening.

Following some recent news accounts about the U.S. government’s research into UFO cases, half of us are starting to believe we’re not alone in the universe anymore. (And, don’t call them UFOs; the official name is unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP.)

Rollie column

Rollie Atkinson

Half of something is better than nothing, we often say. But right now, Lake Sonoma is only half full and Lake Mendocino is less than that. This summer, we’re all going to have to live with half of our normal water supply. That’s more than half bad.

We’ve always lived with things being half of something or another. “Heads you win, tails I lose.” The glass has always been either half full or half empty, depending on one’s disposition. We’re almost equally divided in half by gender, with Sonoma County having 253,100 females (51.3%) and 241,236 males, according to the U.S. Census. (Why are females sometimes called the ‘better half’?)

But there’s a new cause that keeps dividing us in half and we should be alarmed by it. It’s never been true that someone can be half right or half wrong. That’s not how real facts and answers work. We’re seeing lots of half-truths these days being stretched into all kinds of conspiracy theories. We don’t know all the facts about what happened on Jan. 6 and the attack on our U.S. Capitol. But half (48%) of the people responding to a recent Harris opinion poll think we already know enough to not need a bipartisan commission appointed. Half of all Republican congressmen agree.

What’s the solution to our democratic disorder where half of us believe in one set of facts and the other half has a different set? What if half the people living in Sonoma County believed there will never be any more wildfires and believed emergency preparation and prevention was a waste of time and money? What if half of us here disagreed that Black lives matter? What kind of community would we have?

Facts matter. And that is something more than half of us are losing sight of. Believing in UFOs is one thing; not believing in a free and fair election is entirely something else. Yet, we can tune in our TVs to certain channels and hear the latest false evidence of the Big Lie, Stop the Steal and Satan’s influence over an opposing political party. There might even be a new theory proposed about how the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t really killed 594,000 Americans.

It’s been several years now that journalists and other fact-checkers have been working overtime to fight against both misinformation and purposeful disinformation. (Yes, Russia really did try to hack our elections. No, there is not a Democrat-controlled pedophile ring in the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor.)

When we live in a world where these crazed conspiracy theories and fantastical fabrications exist, we are under constant threat that when even half of the people doubt what’s real or not, then our society gets cut in half by competing realities. We understand the political motivations, but right now one of our political parties in Congress is living in a reality that does not include a violent insurrection at our U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Upholding just half of our U.S. Constitution leaves all of us with no Constitution. Obeying our laws just half the time is still criminal. Teaching our children only half lessons can only guarantee a future that will be much less than half of what it could be.

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