That two people viewing the very same object or scene will see it entirely differently has always fascinated me. What causes this discrepancy? How can this be?
Its reality came home to me as I listened to a passionate defense of a man on National Public Radio the other day. The speaker praised Dr. Ronny Jackson’s character and lamented the political climate in Washington that makes a sport of ruining people’s lives. President Donald Trump had nominated Dr. Jackson to lead the Veteran’s Administration, but Dr. Jackson withdrew his nomination after enduring an onslaught of heavy criticism based on allegations of bad behavior.
On Wednesday, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released a statement against Jackson based on the testimony of 23 unnamed individuals.
Tester, in an NPR interview, told an interviewer of stories where Dr. Jackson was repeatedly drunk while on duty “where his main job was to take care of the most powerful man in the world. That’s not acceptable,” Tester said.
“Some of the exact words that were used by the folks we talked to were ‘abusive toward staff,’ ‘very explosive personality,’ ‘belittles the folks underneath him,’ staff that he oversaw. ‘Screamed toward staff,’” Tester said.
But, in The Washington Post, we read of the viewpoint of Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a White House adviser, who referred to Dr. Jackson as “a man of exceptional integrity, character and intellect.” She said that she looks forward “to continuing to see his warm smile each day at the White House!”
The official line from the White House reflects a similar view: “Dr. Jackson’s record as a White House physician is impeccable,” a senior administration official said in a statement. “He has improved unit morale, received glowing reviews and promotions under Republican and Democrat presidents, and has been given a clean vet from the FBI.”
Which version is the real Ronny Jackson? In our divisive world of today, one tends to choose a side and stick to it.
In 1926 Jimmy Steiger and Tommie Malie wrote the song whose lyrics we all have quoted ever since to underscore the way some folks choose to see things:
“Looking at the world through rose colored glasses,
Everything is rosy now.
Looking at the world and everything that passes,
Seems of rosy hue somehow.”
[lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group]