Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lies in Politics

You’re a liar! Whether shouted from the floor of the House of Representatives, or flung into cyberspace, it’s lost its meaning. There is so much lying going on; it is hard to find a pony of truth in any manure pile.
What does it mean anyway? Does it mean the shouter has done the research and knows the words he just heard are erroneous (he doesn’t really know if they are mendacious even if he is convinced of it)? Or does it mean that he has just heard something he dislikes on a subject upon which he disagrees (and doesn’t know if it is an error or a lie but doesn’t care).
Or is it what we see so often in local politics, simply the cry of ignorance and malice attempting to defeat a person they fear? At the local level, where folks want to believe what they hear from their friends and relatives, it can do real damage to people’s reputations and skew elections harmfully.
Technology makes confirmation easy these days, but few seem willing to take advantage of the opportunities. They just repeat the lies verbatim and always until they are so convinced the lie is true, no further thought is attempted.
One should listen carefully and evaluate what they hear. If the lie comes from someone with something to gain by your belief in it, check first before accepting it. Does the history of the person or organization show they have always done the contrary? For instance, if someone has spent many years trying to nurture or protect something, does it make sense that he or she would suddenly act in exactly the opposite way?
Be skeptical. Be fair. Be right.

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