By Joe Rector
The past weeks have been exhausting. No, working hasn’t been difficult; home is still the same, even with son Dallas and his dog Harvey staying with us for a while; the grass has slowed down so that I can keep up with it now. What’s just plain sucked all the energy from me is the political scene and the lies that dominate it.
The Kavanaugh debacle filled the airways with lies. The Republicans and Democrats both spun every aspect of the affair to their own advantages. Allegations by Dr. Ford rocked everyone on both sides of the aisle. The problem became figuring out how to confirm a man who had been accused of sexual assault. If the victim were as credible as all declared, how could Kavanaugh be confirmed? If he had been unjustly accused, apologies were owed to him.
On the heels of that event came the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia took time to cover their tracks in the commission of this murder. With the entire world watching, Saudi leaders lied over and over as they struggled to find a story that would stick. Next, some government officials tried to tie Khashoggi to extremist groups in an effort to discredit the horror of his death. What remains is the fact that the man entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey and never came out. Neither the leaders from the Middle East nor the ones in our country can put a spin on this story that will make it acceptable.
What is most important to all politicians is that their sides come out on top. For some reason, “the common good” has been erased from the workings of the government. In its place, the self-serving actions of representatives who are hell-bent on keeping their jobs are witnessed every day.
Right now, the airwaves are bombarded with political ads paid for by candidates or PACs. They spend millions of dollars telling voters that opponents running for office are liars. The worst about individuals is spread across television screens; however, most of the stuff consists of half-truths or out-and-out lies. Our politicians now appeal to the public’s baser instincts.
Even the executive branch of the government is filled with lies. Leaders of government departments have been caught using “alternative facts.” They’ve lived in luxury at the taxpayers’ expense, and when questioned about their actions, these people either swear they didn’t know the acts were wrong or that someone else led them astray. Their actions defraud the American people and damage the agencies which they oversee.
When we were children, our parents told us that lying was bad. It was that simple. Some of us were punished for fibbing. As parents ourselves, we’ve passed along to our children the wrongness of telling lies. How are they to believe us when after witnessing the folks who lead our country telling untruths or bending facts to support their agendas?
According to legend, George Washington stated he could not tell a lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree. The principle of telling the truth is, in large part, firmly fixed in that story. How disgusted the first president would be if he were to experience the rapid-fire lying that has become part of the country’s leadership. We owe it to ourselves to demand better from the country’s elected officials and to insist that they serve as models of truthful individuals. In short, we need the president and our representatives to speak out and be true leaders.