by Roxanne Tellier
I’ve written before about the dangers of elected officials lying to the public. Twice, in fact. In modern politics, it seems that lying in public has replaced any pretence of integrity or any desire to have one’s tenure be remembered with respect.
Lying breaks our faith in others – once we know that someone will lie to us, we can never again truly trust that person. And it doesn’t matter why the lie was told, because the lie reveals something very important about the liar; the liar is a coward.
There’s a reason that the book ‘Profiles in Courage’ is so slim .. it’s because most people are cowards. Oh, they talk a good game. Keyboard warriors slam those who disagree with their contentions. But put them in the same room with their opponent, face to face, and …. crickets. What are they going to do, pull out a gun? Not in Canada, thank heavens. A raised voice is generally our strongest weapon.
The media, bound by economics to depend on ratings and ‘hits,’ lies regularly, either to advance a cause, by omission, or to ensure that the fool sitting in front of the camera will be willing to return the next time they do something newsworthy enough to be asked back. They forget that truth is what is needed, and that you are allowed to talk over or contradict a liar. Profit has trumped truth.
Getting along with other people is integral to a workable society. Being friendly and helpful to others, while respecting their differences and opinions, is the glue that advances and enhances our society.
Humans have evolved to tell polite little ‘white lies’ in their daily lives, and most of us tell at least two a day. But there is a very clear distinction between ‘white lies’ that are meant to soothe the person being lied to, and ‘black lies’, which are antisocial, and meant to benefit the person doing the lying.
Black liars are cowards, and cowards are afraid of being found unworthy. So they lie to cover their lack of abilities. They know that there will be consequences if people discover the truth about what they are, what they do, and why.
Those who stand behind liars and bullies for fear of the bully taking reprisals are cowards, who only have loyalty to themselves.
Right now, we’re watching a dismantling of nations. We have discovered, as people do when little can be hidden, that too many of the people in whom they are supposed to have unlimited trust, are liars and cowards.
In this time, when people have long been vaguely aware that governments are fallible, and that those same governments are often not working for the working classes, but rather for the enrichment of big businesses, a lack of leadership contenders has never been so blatantly obvious.
Whether in Canada or the United States of America, a huge swath of taxpayers feel that their concerns are being ignored, and that the world they will be leaving to their children has been hijacked by the wealthy, in favour of the wealthy.
People have little faith in the ‘checks and balances’ built into government, because they see those in power blow right past those defences. And then it’s check .. and mate. Goodbye clean air and water. Hello oligarchy.
With elections on the horizon in both halves of North America, there is a rise in the use of dirty tricks, innuendo, and accusations that are near slander. There are trolls and bots in social media, sent to shake our faith in all of the political contenders.
It seems that we are now being coerced to choose our country’s leaders and representatives NOT by assessing who is the most qualified, but rather, by whom we’ve defined as the least corrupt, the least politically incorrect, or the least likely to indulge themselves at the tax payers expense.
Instead of a spectacle of intellectual and/or heroic giants battling it out for the prize of leading us, we watch maggots trying to convince us that they are less maggot-y than the other contenders.
Our words and deeds teach others how we expect to be treated. The lesson these politicians have learned is that we expect a circus of high wire acts and fireworks, rather than a clear and cogent statement of policy. Like children, we wait to be delighted by Seussian spectacles.
” They’ll bang on tong-tinglers, blow their foo-flounders, they’ll crash on jang-jinglers, and bounce on boing-bounders!”
Rather than creating platforms or visions of a strong and united nation, these professional politicians seek only to win an election, form a government, and put into place formats to ensure their own enrichment. The voters are just the cannon fodder; the voters are the rubes the con men seek to fool.
And that’s sad.
I’ve always known that there are many people that haven’t the time, or just don’t care about politics, because they’re doing the things that build a nation.. having a family, buying homes, starting businesses, and buying stuff. They only care when it affects them, their children, or their pocketbook.
And that’s sort of understandable. We need those nose to the grindstone types, to keep the country ticking along. But it is still really frightening to see the lack of understanding from the voters, to watch them be played and swayed by the machinations of the parties’ publicity wonks.
In the United States, the president, terrified of the prospect of impeachment, is now seemingly unable to say anything but lies. His Secretary of State was caught in several blatant lies to the public, and pretty much all of his administration and Cabinet are complicit in impeachable, illegal offences.
In Canada, the leader of the Conservative Party has been caught lying on his resume about his work record, and his education. His loyalty to the nation was questioned this week, when he told the media that he’d never spoken publicly about being a dual Canadian-United States citizen, because “no one ever asked me.”
Scheer stayed silent on his citizenship, even as the Conservative party regularly attacked politicians for their citizenships, like Michael Ignatieff in 2011, insinuating that he was ‘just visiting Canada’ They made a huge issue of former NDP leader Tom Mulcair and former Liberal leader Stephane Dion having dual Canadian-French citizenship. And in 2005, Scheer himself questioned the integrity of former governor general Michaelle Jean’s dual citizenship, asking in a blog written to his constituents if they could trust her, saying ” “Does it bother you that she is a dual citizen (France and Canada)? Would it bother you if instead of French citizenship, she held U.S. citizenship?”
It’s a breathtaking example of two-faced hypocrisy.
Do political parties, particularly on the right, no longer even vet their members, and potential leaders? Is it just a question of being the right colour, having money, and being willing to toe the party line?
We are going to find out a lot of things about ourselves in the next few months, on both sides of the border. We’re going to find out who we really are, and how much effort we put forward to understand the policies and platforms of those parties viewing for our votes. We’re going to discover if we are sheep that manipulative entities can herd into their enclosures, or if we are willing to make the time and effort to choose the leaders that will decide our countries futures.
It’s up to us all to stop accepting lies and dirty tricks as the foundation of political campaigns, and to demand truth and accountability from those we’ve chosen to lead our nations.
“In 2016, candidate Donald Trump boasted, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” In the coming weeks, we will find out whether he’s right about who he thinks we are as Americans” Rep Eric Swalwell