“When you are rich and powerful, no one will challenge you to your face or give you a chance to explain yourself. All the whispers are behind your back. You are left with no means of clearing your own name. And after a while you realize there is no point in even attempting to do so. No one wants the truth. All anyone wants is the chance to add more fuel to the fires of gossip. The whispers become so loud that sometimes you think you will drown in them.”
― Amanda Quick, Ravished
“Always remember… Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.”
― Ziad K. Abdelnour, Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics
Among the many inane things we say when we don’t have something witty of our own to offer (hey, don’t knock it … someone else’s bon mot beats out “duh” every time), there are a few genuinely despicable ones.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
It has become everyone’s justification for deciding guilt based on rumor, hearsay, or malice. I’ve heard people say this so many times, in a wide variety of situations, but it always means the same thing.
“I haven’t a shred of evidence, but I’ve heard stuff about you-know-who. He/she/they must be guilty of something, right? Because where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
No one with good intentions would say this. It’s mean-spirited. Small-minded. How can you justify this when you live in a nation supposedly founded on the principle of not convicting anyone without due process? Without a trial? Without evidence?
Being unpopular — or accused of wrongdoing — is not proof . Neither is attending a different church, or no church. Or dressing funny, having a bad attitude, failing to mow the lawn, keeping to ones self, being anti-social, holding unpopular opinions, or having bad manners. It is legal to be different.
And hey, how about gossip, eh? People say all kinds of shit. It can ruin reputations and careers. Destroy families. All because a guy said something to another guy about someone. Then a couple of other guys in a bar repeated what they thought they’d heard, plus a few embellishments. Their girlfriends passed it to their BFFs who published it on Facebook. Rumor becomes fact because where there’s smoke, there’s gotta be fire. Everyone knows that.
So now, you’ve got everything you need for a quick conviction without benefit of judge, jury, or trial. The next thing you know, a lynch mob is forming.
If ever you hear yourself saying “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” or words to that effect, stop. Ask yourself what gives you the right to judge. Because you too can be judged and I bet you won’t much like it.
Assuming the pingbacks are working, these days a big assumption, this is part of SWEET LITTLE LIES –
for the Daily Prompt.