Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Greatest Casualty of Politics

Truth, some would have you believe, is an abstract concept, a gray area that is shaped by one’s point of view, philosophy, or ideology.  Those people are wrong.  Truth is an absolute; it is backed by fact making it impervious to manipulation.  Truth can be inconvenient and unforgiving, even painful and unfair.  It is also enlightening and liberating, the foundation for all things positive. 

We have most definitely fallen down the rabbit hole.  While honesty was never a strong point for politicians, new lows are becoming commonplace.  No longer constrained by even the slimmest amount of decency, they have reached a point where they are perfectly comfortable not just stretching the truth, but completely ignoring it.  Simply calling them liars would be an understatement as absurdity knows no bounds. Completely baseless claims are hurled without hesitation, and for those that lean left, generally without repercussions.  Contradiction and hypocrisy go unchecked.  Straight faced and with a level of disdain detectable in their voices for having to explain their obviously enlightened perspectives, we are told that the accumulation of massive national debt is nothing to be concerned with and that the source of all our problems is the  wealthy not paying enough in taxes.  If it weren’t such a sad commentary on the current state of our national awareness, it would be comical, instead it is infuriating.  A frustration born of the complete loss of truth, logic, and accountability that far too few seem to feel.  Our elected officials do what we allow them to, they do what we respond to, they do what we let them get away with.  To see the magnitude of fools we have become, all we need to do is look at the no holds barred and the ends justifies the means environment our nation’s capital has become; a place where noble things like character, truth, honor, and respect have become casualties in an ever escalating campaign of ruthless power grabs.

Effective change cannot take place until the truth is revealed and accepted.  Delaying the inevitable is not worth the effort as the longer the wait the more painful the road back.  While denial is a powerful and convenient distraction, it is also one of the greatest contributing factors to our nation’s recent decline.  We continue to allow ourselves to be blissfully preoccupied by politicians telling us we have nothing to worry about and that nothing is our fault.  In spite of our best efforts at drinking this Kool-Aid, the irresistible force of reality continues on.  Debt piles up at a record pace, government programs are full speed ahead toward bankruptcy, and we have to come to accept a new normal of high unemployment, stagnant wages, and diminishing buying power.  Regardless of the socialist utopian fairytale that the current administration unremittingly peddles in order to pander to our increasingly selfish and entitled electorate, the truth of its inherent self-destructive nature can be ignored for only so long before the facade is erased by the harsh reality of having to deal with its inescapable ramifications.  Truth will not be denied and when it comes crashing through it does so without regard, without feeling and concern as to where the chips may fall or the devastation wrought. It is what it is no matter the result.

In politics, the allowable amount of truth exposed is determined by what the voters will accept.  Facts and supporting evidence don’t carry the appropriate weight because of the previously mentioned possibility of pain.  Who wants to hear truth when the nonsense is oh so much more comforting?  Those that are the bearers of bad news, regardless of how true it is, are punished with reputations as cynics and summarily dismissed.  Those that manufacture the rosiest outlook, regardless of the absence of truth, are rewarded with election and reelection.  Realistic solutions and expectations be damned, we want the endlessly recycled rhetoric about how great a nation we are and how we deserve ever better futures.  We prefer lies because the reality we are responsible for pales in comparison to what many a politician promises their next new program or regulation will produce.  It is easier to accept the fabricated then to get to work on fixing the real.

And the truth shall set you free, so it is not surprising the government is not keen on letting it out.  The closest we come to hearing it is during those rare moments where elected officials let their guard down long enough to expose themselves over an unnoticed open microphone.  When government feels no obligation to be honest with the citizens, we get the daily examples of ever escalating ridiculousness and secrecy we see today.  How else could someone feel confident enough to argue that incurring massive debt is not a bad thing, but cutting debt spending is?  Truth can be very damaging, especially when it is contrary to your vision.  When the key to your crusade, your effort to fundamentally change the nation, is to deny the greatness and unmatched success of the system you are attempting to replace, truth will not see the light of day.  Facts are the enemy, so they must be drowned in a sea of misdirection.  Making this task easier is a host of obedient supporters that mindlessly recite prepared talking points and arbitrarily dismiss any evidence or arguments that counter the shared vision.  Couple this with a press all too willing to help spread the word for the cause and the propaganda machine will do its damnedest to see the only truth spread is their version of it.  Not the best situation for a society dependent on information to remain free and yet not overly concerned with seeking it out.

There aren’t too many occupations where one could amass a reputation for dishonesty and remain employed.  Interestingly enough members of either house of the US Congress and the President of the United States are not subject to such lofty expectations.  How strange that those residing in positions of such importance and leadership are actually held to a lower standard.  It is even stranger that we complain about this growing trend and yet it is our abandonment as regulators of government that has allowed our current national situation to degrade to a point where liars and leaders are one in the same.  Our acceptance of completely unacceptable behavior is proving to be one of our many Achilles’ heels.  When truth is no longer a priority, what comes next?  What will be the next moral standard to be cast aside because we are simply no longer interested enough to make the effort to protect it?  A nation that tolerates the denial of truth for the soothing effects provided by the lie, will not long continue to enjoy the freedom of self-rule that is only possible through truth.  Deceit is suppression, for it is only necessary when the truth isn’t convenient or cooperative.  If we no longer expect our leaders to be accountable to us, then why should we go through all of the effort of an election?  Perhaps a national auction is more appropriate.  The one with the best story and that makes the most grandiose promises is rewarded with our votes.  How foolish of me, we’re already there.