Fear of punishment sometimes drove me to lie to her questioning: "Did you do what I told you not to do?" My eight-year-old mind weighed the options: (1) tell the truth (I had done what she told me not to do) and take the very painful punishment, or (2) lie and evoke the future wrath of God for lying. Of course, I was not a very good liar and I only got away with it about half the time.
When I did not get away with it, I really got angry at her. I rationalized to myself that I had told the truth (even when I had not) and then I would get angry that she would not believe me. I was her son and she should believe me--even when I was not telling the truth.
I bring this up because of the many lies being told today on the political front; and the obvious position of the liars that they are telling the truth.
Look at these topics--which I believe to be lies:
- Obama is a Muslim.
- He is not a citizen of the United States.
- The Health Care Reorm Act includes "death panels"
- the government is taking over health care
- we are losing our freedom
- we need to take our country back
- the current administration is raising our taxes
When we hear someone make some statement, the test of truth has become, "do I agree with it?" If we don't agree, we often lower our level of trust for the speaker, our sense of their personal integrity diminishes.
If five of us were in business as partners, how successful could our business be if two of the five said, "No matter what you want to do, we are going to say "No"? Today the Republican members of the Senate adopted the position that whatever the Democrats propose to reform Wall Street and the banks, the Republicans will oppose it. They have also said, whoever Obama nominates to the Supreme Court, they will oppose that person.
Two considerations: first, if we do not enact financial reforms, the same practices that caused our recession will remain in play. Second, the balance of the court will remain about the same as it was if Obama appoints a liberal jurist (which he probably will). The real fight will come if Obama gets the opportunity to make another appointment and nominates a liberal in the place of a conservative.
Remember this: this current court voted 5-4 to allow corporations to donate to political campaigns in such a way that will diminish the importance of individual donations. Though this may give comfort to the right wing, it is very scary to me.
One last word: whether it is ignorance or deceit that fuels the false statements of the right wing, a larger danger looms.
Have you seen signs held by the Tea Party demonstrators: "Armageddon is coming", "Take Back our Country", "We came unarmed, This Time", "Clean Your Guns and Have Them Ready", "Obama is a Nazi Socialist".
In a speech given today, President Clinton said, We want to promote disagreement and dialog; but, be careful the words you use. Remember what you say enters into a vast echo chamber and those words resound across this land and fall up the ears of the serious and the delirious, those who are well-connected and those that are unhinged.
An acquaintance sat down at the dinner table last night. The first thing he said was "Obama is a Muslim". I told him that was not true. Obama's father had been a Muslim, his mother was a non-believer who had a Ph.D degree (in anthropology?). Obama has been a member of a
I spoke the truth, as I know it. Long ago I gave up lying to avoid unpleasant consequences. But, my acquaintance had been told this by an influential person, and I doubt very seriously if he believes me. Lies told by friends have power. Corrosive and corrupt power.