When are we going to start holding politicians (and journalists) accountable for bald-faced lying?
Too often, we dismiss mendacity as a standing joke when it comes to elected officials. “So he lied. So what? That politics.”
Reporters may taint the truth by omission or commission to present a biased point of view. Sometimes, they outright lie. It’s really us, on the receiving end who are at fault, because we minimize it all until it becomes old news. Meanwhile, people in public positions of great responsibility get away with blatant dishonesty.
Think about children. We parents know if they get away with lying without repercussions, they find it easier with each lie that follows. It’s never just “one.”
NBC anchor, Brian Williams, perpetuated a lie for nearly twelve years about being in a helicopter in Iraq, shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. Finally, some folks who were there called him down, from which he retracted saying he’d made a mistake. That was no mistake. The mea culpa was just another lie. The only reason he confessed is because he got caught. The network will likely continue to employ him as a reputable journalist. Lying journalists should be summarily fired.
People forget when Hillary Clinton claimed that she and Chelsea landed in Bosnia in 1996 while under sniper fire. Not true. When called to task by actual witnesses, she admitted that it was a “misspeak.” And this woman wants to be our president?
This article could extend into a book, but here are a few selected samples of undisputed untruths:
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” (As President Clinton looked directly into the people’s camera)
“I have no idea who that baby is,” said Former Senator John Edwards.
“My computer was hacked,” Rep. Anthony Weiner, regarding personalized sex pictures on the Internet.
“I went on a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail,” said South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford in 2009. He was really in South America with a mistress. Nevertheless, the people of South Carolina re-elected him again as a U.S. Congressman.
In the election cycle of 2010, Florida Congressman Alan Grayson approved a political ad accusing his opponent (Dan Webster) of horrific (and untrue) points of view against women and dubbed him “Taliban Dan.” He got away with it.
Then, there’s a significant assortment attributed to the current commander in chief, or his high-level minions, starting with, “al Qaeda is on its heels.” Or, “You can keep your policy. You can keep your doctor.” Or, “Benghazi resulted from an anti-Muslim video.” “ISIL extremists are a JV team.” “Fast and Furious began under the Bush administration.” Et al.
Poltifact.com is a very reputable fact-check on-line source which cites many scores of statements by our president as being wholly “False.” (See link, below) The message is clear: The president’s words are not trustworthy, but he gets a pass.
When Barack Obama speaks, I change the channel. A serial liar has no conscience. That’s called “sociopathic.”
We are not talking about the gray areas in dispute. These are not mere exaggerations or misspeaks, or a few promises not kept. They are outright falsehoods designed to mislead.
When Americans elect high-level officials, we put our sacred trust into those individuals. When a president, governor, senator or congressperson deliberately and knowingly lies to Americans, they should forfeit their right to hold office.
Integrity is everything. If we cannot trust our office holders, the nation declines.
Those who look us in the eye and perpetuate falsehoods, sends a message: They’ll do it again. They should no longer be trusted. It’s better to say nothing, than lie.
Our electorate is amazing. In 2008, a U.S. Congressman from Louisiana was caught with nearly $100,000 in bribe money hidden in a freezer. He ran for office while under indictment, and won. Years ago, the mayor of our national capitol was caught on camera buying and using crack cocaine. After serving prison time, he again ran for office … and got re-elected! It’s not politicians who are at fault, it’s the voters.
Federal laws should be passed, or the constitution amended, that automatically authorize removal of any senator, congressperson or president who knowingly lie to the American people. We must have minimum standards for elected officials which, at the least, mirror the strict entry requirements for other public servants, like police, fire, FBI and etc.
Don’t hold your breath. Guess who would enact those kinds of laws.