I recently heard someone say that once we buy into a belief or philosophy our objectivity is severely diminished. We no longer try to discern whether something we read or hear is true and correct and simply accept any information that supports our belief. This can be seen in politics.
Unfortunately, it seems to be common practice for politicians around the country and members of congress to put themselves first, play party politics, accept money from lobbyists and large donors in return for their votes while they show little concern for things that are good for our country and the taxpayers. When those politicians are put on the spot, try to answer the hard questions or get caught doing something bad or illegal, they rarely own up. For far too many politicians, lying seems to be second nature.
Core followers of many politicians are quick to accept the political leader’s statements as truth and go along even when the statement is clearly not true. Today, it seems that some voters are more than willing to overlook the lies and questionable behavior of political leaders when they agree with the politician’s stated goals.
Predictably, those who find fault with the misdeeds of those politicians are quickly branded as enemies and attempts are made to discredit them. Of course, political enemies are always held to different and often higher standards of behavior by the offending politician and his/her supporters. By overlooking the lies, bad behavior, illegal actions and the damage created by such leaders, followers are saying that the laws, ethical behavior and poor performance don’t matter as long as they get what they want.
Since a truth is a truth and a lie is a lie, we will find each purpose at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The purpose of a lie is to:
– Deceive and mislead
– Cover something up
– Make the truth hard to find
– Justify incorrect statements or actions
– Serve as propaganda
– Support or perpetuate a wrong
– Hide a misdeed, mistake or illegal action
– Make someone else look bad or look guilty
– Change an opinion
– Hide the facts
– Deny something that was said or done
– Change the focus to a less controversial topic
The purpose of a truth is to:
– Reveal and verify the facts and details
– Be open and honest
– Uncover the exact words, actions, motives and character of those involved
– Enable us to confirm and become absolutely sure of what was said and what happened
Politicians who are immersed in a web of lies and misdeeds:
– Engage in a cover-up of their misdeeds
– Tell additional lies to obscure the first one
– Are unable to support their statements with specifics and details
– Make up information and scenarios that turn out not to be true
– Distract attention with unsubstantiated and untrue claims
– Continually work to plant and cultivate seeds of doubt
– Attempt to delegitimize facts that might trouble supporters
– Exaggerate claims and blow minor things way out of proportion
– Lash out at those who do not buy into their lies
– Use personal attacks to disparage dissenters
– Engage in name calling
– Expect friends to support the lie by speaking and acting out
– Use ‘alternative’ facts and irrational logic
– Quote unreliable sources and endorse incorrect information
– Make false and misleading statements a part of everyday life
– Repeat lies over and over in the hopes that supporters believe them
– Stir up their base supporters whenever they get into trouble
– Hire powerful attorneys to minimize the damage
– Attempt to disparage and damage governmental institutions
– Demonstrate contempt for the rule of law
– Strive to discredit reporters who seek the facts and truth
– Claim they are being unjustly treated by the media
– Work hard to cloud the truth and the facts
– Point the blame at others
– Brand any and all negative information as ‘fake’
– Initiate disinformation campaigns
– Find that they must walk back and change previous statements
– Use half-truths to support their case
– Disagree with proven facts
– Bully and intimidate key people into remaining quiet
– Become delusional to the point they can no longer see the truth
– Start to believe that there is a conspiracy to get them
– Delude themselves into thinking they are doing something good
– Claim ‘no obstruction’ while hampering efforts to find the truth
– Take many actions to interfere with and undermine the investigation
– Try to discredit the investigators
– Get caught up in contradictions
– Double down on their alarming pattern of behavior and falsehoods
– Excuse their own behavior while condemning the behavior of others
– Take actions well outside of traditional and accepted norms
– Throw friends under the bus, when things start to fall apart
Politicians tend to utilize these tactics when they are worried that the consequences of their past statements, actions and behaviors may put them in legal jeopardy and/or may impact their financial and political futures. They also adopt these tactics when they are concerned that their support base may be badly eroding.
When politicians employ behaviors like these, they are showing us and telling us that we should not believe them, should not trust them and certainly should not support them. Any political position built on lies and misdeeds must be recognized and taken as a personal insult and betrayal that cannot be tolerated.
It should be obvious to everyone that politicians who tell us the truth and have not committed any serious misdeeds will have no reason to engage in these deceitful activities. That critical point cannot be ignored or explained away by those who utilize and rely on those tactics. The truth and the facts are important and must be held dear.
“People can choose between the sweet lie or the bitter truth.
I say the bitter truth,
but many people don’t want to hear it.”
— Avigdor Lieberman
“Lying is a cooperative act.
Think about it.
A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance.
Its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”
— Pamela Meyer
Since the cornerstones of trust are both truth and ethical behavior, political leaders who do not speak the truth, mislead us and fail to behave properly have no place in government. We all should be able to agree that our trust and support should only be offered to politicians who tell us the truth, behave in an ethical manner and act with our best interests in mind.
Liars and unethical people who hold political office should be held accountable for their lack of respect for us and for the office they hold. Therefore, we must be sure that our voices are heard. We do that by making phone calls and by sending e-mail messages and letters of complaint to the offices of unscrupulous politicians. Most importantly, our votes should only go to truthful, trustworthy and ethical candidates.
Holding political leaders accountable is the obligation of every voter. High school students, college students and all new voters will also be expected to take on the same responsibility for seeking the truth and holding our politicians to the highest standards. That responsibility should never be sacrificed even when the politician promises and delivers some of the things we want. We will pay a terrible price if our own standards sink to that level.