2 + 2 = 4? Well, Kind Of
I don’t think it’s just me; I think it’s a facet of human nature. But when I’m introduced to new information, I try to assimilate it into a narrative that makes sense to me. When I meet people for the first time, I subconsciously take the things they tell me about themselves and combine that with my impressions to form images of these people and the lives they lead. Now, are these images always correct? Probably not. Can people give me misleading information that leads me to form false conclusions? Inevitably. But nevertheless, that’s the way my brain functions, and I suspect that I’m not alone.
That’s why I was so surprised to recently hear a friend talking about Steve Filson’s divorce. You see, I’d read the “Biography” section of his website, the one where he says, “My wife Mary and I have four children and recently our first grandchild has joined the family.” And I attended the meeting of the San Ramon Valley Democratic Club back in October, when Filson spent quite a bit of time talking about his background; I heard him describe his family life. In his account of the evening, VPO gave us this description: “Moved to Danville in 1978, been a Tri-valley resident since then, kids went to UCal Berkeley, he went to church and attended soccer games -- the whole suburban family bit.”
Now, maybe I’m making something out of nothing here; it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve ever done that. But it just seems strange to me that, in this day and age, Filson wouldn’t just be straightforward and say something in his “Biography” like, “My wife Mary and I each have two children from previous marriages, and recently my/her first grandchild has joined the family.” That, at least to me, would have been a lot more acceptable than the careful parsing of “My wife Mary and I have four children and recently our first grandchild has joined the family.” Because, you see, I’m left feeling like I was manipulated, like Mr. Filson purposely tried to create a false image of a happy nuclear family that he thought would be somehow more palatable than the reality of a blended family.
The notion of honesty is going to play a big role in this election. And engaging in subterfuge, however irrelevant it may be, is not a really great way to establish yourself as a man of integrity.