Sadly, an honest politician is as difficult to find as a chaste prostitute. It seems impossible for public officials to tell the truth; although, if his or her lips are moving, it is a good indication another lie is being released. And if their pants are on fire, you can be pretty sure you are dealing with a liar.
It’s time for all government officials to experience rejection, repercussions, and not rewards, for lying. It’s time for accountability—that means holding their feet to the fire.
Roman bridge-builders were required to stand under their new arches as the scaffolding was removed. If they had made a mistake, the whole structure came down on their heads. That is the epitome of personal responsibility—something missing in our day. No one wants to be held accountable for anything.
Indeed, citizens have a right and responsibility to hold government officials accountable for their actions, accomplishments, associations, and authenticity. Being human, maybe we can forgive their failures after a valiant attempt to accomplish everything they promised, but there is no forgiveness for lack of authenticity. Lying by any public official should mean jail time.
George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Men have always lied. That is the reason God forbids lying. But we keep lying. Many of our lies are minor and often for altruistic purposes. We often say, “What a beautiful baby,” when it is often untrue. It might be wiser at such a time to say, “Wow, that’s some baby!” Or, “I have never seen such a child.” Then make a quick exit.
Often a husband is asked by his wife, “Does this yellow dress make me look fat?” The answer is supposed to be, “No, sweetheart, it doesn’t make you look fat.” However, while that may be a socially accepted lie, it is still a lie and indicates a problem in the relationship. It is the husbandly thing to tell a wife the truth; although it is not wise to be a wit and say, “If you wear that yellow dress, people on the street will yell, ‘taxi!'” That will prove you are not a wit but a halfwit.
Furthermore, an overweight wife will live longer than her husband who reminds her of that fact. When I was growing up in West Virginia, we had enough sense to say of such ladies, “they were a little fleshy” or they were “big-boned.” Frankly, I’d rather be “fleshy” than have a huge, masculine beer belly, and the person who declares their delight at being overweight is lying.
Dr. Kang Lee, a professor at the University of Toronto, researched children and lying, as reported in the June 2017 issue of National Geographic. He set up an experiment in a video-monitored room and told children they could have a toy, but they would only get it if they don’t look under a cloth that concealed the toy. Then the adult was called out of the room and returned a couple of minutes later. The kids were asked if they peeked.
Thirty percent of the two-year-olds lied. Half of the three-year-olds lied, and eighty percent of the eight-year-old kids lied. After age eight, more than 90 percent lied! “This is universal,” Lee said.
Lee declared, “We explicitly teach our kids to tell white lies,” when parents coach small children to tell grandparents how much their gifts were appreciated. This is especially dangerous, deleterious, and destructive for parents to basically give permission for children to lie. Unfortunately, they often grow up to become politicians!
Professor Lee said, “Moreover, our findings showed that even the parents who most strongly promoted the importance of honesty with their children engaged in parenting by lying.” Evidently, there is something wrong here.
In 1996, Bella DePaulo, author of The Hows and Whys of Lies, put recorders on students for a week and found they lied, on average, in every third conversation of 10 minutes or more! For adults, it was once every five conversations!
Obviously, lying is a flaw of human nature—a result of Adam’s Fall that makes liars of us all. But then, no one is forced to lie.
My concern is that it is illegal for a citizen to lie to any federal official, yet those same officials can lie with impunity to the voters who put them in office. Such officials need to be held accountable.
Since it is illegal for American citizens to lie to any federal official, why doesn’t some courageous member of Congress introduces a bill to make it illegal for a federal official to lie to the people who pay their salary? It is mindboggling to think how that would change our nation, especially if it were made retroactive. Yes, I know this is a pipe dream since few legislators would vote for such a law.
But if it could be done and be done retroactively, we would have to ship our present and former presidents off to a federal prison followed by almost all members of Congress. Then we would clean out the FBI, IRS, OSHA, EPA, and all of the alphabet agencies. Wow, it makes me hyperventilate thinking about that!
Politicians make promises to gain votes then blatantly break them. So let’s hold them accountable—first by not reelecting them and second by putting them in jail! After all, isn’t it fraud to get something of value (a government office) by lying?
Some famous lies were told by Obama when he told us over and over that we could keep our health plan and our doctors, and we would save $2500 per year on health premiums.
Then National Director of Intelligence James Clapper lied when he was asked if federal officials were spying on innocent citizens. He said they were not, but everyone knows he lied. Jimmy is not in jail—yet.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice lied about the Benghazi disaster when she told the media, “It was a spontaneous eruption over an American film.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also lied when she told the dead relatives that the tragedy of Benghazi was caused by the video. Susan and Hillary should be cellmates.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified before a Senate committee and lied when he told the Senators that the Federal Reserve could not manipulate interest rates. He said that even though Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve had started a program a month before to do just that! Tim was a known liar even when on the public payroll.
Lying has consequences, but seldom does it result in jail time for a politician, police officer, prosecutor, FBI agent, IRS agent, government appointees, etc., to lie during their job performance. However, I don’t think one becomes a liar when he or she arrives in Washington, D.C. since we see the same phenomena in every statehouse. Frankly, a non-lying politician is almost as rare as wine without grapes.
President Nixon lied about the Watergate burglary resulting in his resignation and 69 people being indicted, including many administration members and 25 people going to jail. So why were Democrats and the media so adamant about putting Nixon’s people in jail but have no concern for the many FBI agents, prosecutors, House and Senate members, Joe Biden, etc., who lied numerous times?
Does the word hypocrite come to mind?
Then there was George H. W. Bush’s “No new taxes!” And he was not reelected.
Bill Clinton repeatedly lied about his sexual affairs with various women, especially Monica Lewinsky, and was impeached for lying under oath. As a result, he lost his right to practice law. Of course, everyone but the village idiot knew he was an active audacious adulterer.
I’m not too concerned if an official lies about his hairpiece, his affairs, or if he inflates his résumé, but I’m very concerned when he lies about public affairs. When he or she does, it should mean slammer time.
Martha Stewart went to prison for a few months for lying about some stock, yet prominent politicians can lie and cause the deaths of many people or financial disaster, yet no one goes to jail. Think, Governor Cuomo.
Donald Trump declared that America had the highest taxes in the world. He was dishonest or uninformed.
Hillary Clinton asserted that ISIS had used Trump in videos to recruit terrorists. She was lying or, to be even-handed, was uninformed. You decide.
Niccolò Machiavelli was a 15th Century philosopher who wrote The Prince to instruct potential rulers to get and hold power. He advocated lying as a required attribute to be a successful prince or politician, and he advocated many immoral behaviors to maintain power. Machiavelli taught that it is better to be stingy than generous. It is better to be cruel than merciful. It is better to break promises if keeping them would be against one’s interests. Machiavelli has provided cover for political liars for over six hundred years.
Almost everyone declares that some white lies are expected and essential to lubricate society, but I disagree. One can be truthful without being cruel. And to suggest that politicians must lie to perform the function of government is an insult to God’s establishment of government.
George Washington allegedly said, “I cannot tell a lie,” while most politicians, if forced to be honest, would have to say, “I cannot tell the truth.”
Let’s make it jail time for the liars in government. Everyone would vote for that except the liars in government!
That means we will never have a federal law against official lying since the official liars may be liars, but they are not stupid.
Dr. Don Boys
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