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Friday
Aug312012

Too much to ask?

In an election year that has serious ramifications for the future of our country, is it too much to ask for candidates to tell the truth, or a reasonable facsimile thereof?

The just-ended Republican National Convention may have set a record for spawning the most articles on the general theme of intentional artifice -- most of them inspired by vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan's high-energy peroration that had fact-checkers competing to see how many half-truths, mistruths, and no-truth statements they could find (just a few: Ezra Klein and Dylan Matthews for the Washington Post, Joan Walsh at Salon.com, three reporters at CBSNews.com, among others, plus blogs galore). Even the famously conservative Fox News has a columnist (Sally Kohn, admittedly, a minority voice) who said that while his presentation was dazzling, "Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech." 

Presidential nominee Mitt Romney was less mendacious than Ryan in his acceptance speech, but even so, a New York Times editorial was entitled "Mr. Romney Reinvents History."

Now, I don't want to suggest that Republicans are alone in the practice of fabrication for effect. Democrats are not immune to the temptation to stretch the truth, and when their national convention rolls around next week, you can bet the fact-checkers (America's new growth industry?) will be watching closely to see if the convention's typical puffery and posturing is also punctuated by prevarication. And if Democratic speakers are as willing to twist, torture, or totally disregard the truth, I'll be just as disappointed in them.

Every national political candidate naturally talks about "what America deserves." What America deserves is leaders who will tell the truth, not only about themselves and their plans, but about their opponents and their opponents' plans -- yet honest information seems to be in short supply.

What strikes me as particularly sad is that so many Americans prefer to believe what they want to be true rather than what is really true, prompting one political pollster to confidently boast "We won't allow our campaign to be dictated by fact-checkers" -- as if acknowledging that truthfulness doesn't matter.

Campaigns based on falsehoods may be effective in energizing the base and possibly even winning an election -- but one who would lead the nation will need all the credibility he or she can muster -- even in the campaign.

 

[Image from http://www.bates-communications.com]



Reader Comments (6)

Indeed a heartfelt harangue of those hopelessly honorless hypocrites and their haphazard half-truths! Hideous!

Aug 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJust Sayin'

You might be as disappointed when (not if) the Dems lie like a rug next week, but if your past is any predictor of your future, I predict you won't mention it here.

Aug 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDC

Conventions are relatively irrelevant so what happens in them (truths or lies) is not worth warm spit. Until 1972, conventions were used to set the platform, con the public, and choose the candidate. When I was much younger, the affair was available only on radio and furnished genuine excitement, complete with the smoke-filled rooms, personal tally sheets when the votes were taken, and all the rest. Now, the primaries decide the candidates long before the conventions, rendering them as little more than entertainment, in which anything goes…sort of like late-night television.

If there have to be primaries, they should all be held on the same day. The old way was better, though. Now, the whole thing is exponentially trivialized by the never-ending campaigns, the sinful amounts of money spent, and the fact that government officials, as a whole, are held in such low esteem (and for good reason most of the time) anyway. Nearly half the families in this country pay no income taxes, another way of saying that nearly half the voters will lean toward the welfare-state candidate, giving democrats a tremendous advantage. All they have to do is convince an additional small percent to put them over the top.

So…who cares about truth or lies? Some good speeches are made, however, and occasionally integrity will rear its ugly head.

Aug 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Clark

Interesting when folks speak at a conventions, lies are not lies but rather embellishments for a political ends and are not to be taken seriously, just mere theater, part of the show. The scriptures reveals something quite different about the standard of truth and the spirit of truth. The constant stretching of the truth and outright lies reveal the true nature of the heart. It is all about winning the contest and crushing your foe. They seem to blindly fall into the ideologue's trap and sacrifice their moral values for the cause. Should not the Christian be duty bound to voice concern over anyone who has such liberty with the truth?

Sep 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

The first consideration of a fair income tax policy should be to avoid placing a crushing burden on families who depend on income from minimum and subsistence wage jobs. These families struggle to put food on the table, a roof over their heads and pay for necessary utilities and transportation. Their meager salaries are reduced by payroll taxes and state and federal sales taxes. To claim that they are somehow advantaged because their incomes are so low that they are not subject to the federal income tax, defies logic. Here is a simple question: Would you rather pay no taxes on an income of $25,000/yr. or 35% taxes on an income of $250,000/yr. When high income families pay a substantial federal income tax, their incomes rise faster, and more high income families are created, because that money is distributed throughout the economy which promotes more demand for goods and services and subsequent private sector growth. What the economic growth of the 90s shows is that higher taxes on those that can afford them lifts all boats including their own.

Sep 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjim

In a climate where the politicians (and especially sitting presidents) lie as easily as breathing it seems to me that we could find something else to use as examples for Sunday School literature. Democrats (clergy or not) need to understand that not all people are ignorant and believe everything they are told. We have a society that all of a sudden wants to believe that the "poor" are there because everyone is "out to get them". It seems all of a sudden that if you are willing to work hard and make something of yourself you now need to give 2/3 of it to the people that are perfectly content to "sit on the porch" and let someone else support them. After all, all they need to do is complain a little and the world will feel sorry for them. I happen to be one of those people that worked hard and tried to make something of myself. I have worked on missions work, given to my church, and worked in the community when needed. I do not appreciate all of a sudden being called the "villan" by some "community organizer" that has divided this country more in the last 3 1/2 years than I ever thought possible. We have been taken back 50 years in racial relations by a (and I agree with you on this one) lying politician out to see the United States fall and create a "Utopia". If this is what our society is coming to, may GOD have mercy on us.

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