Pants On Fire

17 08 2016

When you’re a liar, a person of low moral fortitude, really any explanation you need to be true can be true. Especially if you’re smart enough. You can figure out a way to justify anything.” ~ Samuel Witwer

Former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani spouted this doozie yesterday at a Trump rally in Youngstown, OH… “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.”

Wow… wait a minute… damn. But no one paused, and the crowd went wild.

So I said to myself, “Self… this MUST be sarcasm, because he seems to forget the main event that gives people a reason to know his name.”

This blog post began as an attack on the GOP, highlighting another stunning example of the ineptitude of Donald Trump and his team. My question was going to be, “Has Donald Trump’s propensities to lie and pander to his audience become an airborne virus, affecting the entire team?”

But as my ideas started to coalesce, I began thinking about the larger issue – everyone’s propensity to lie, and accept the lies presented to us. I’ve touch upon this in a previous post, but I’ll try to expand here.

When I was a young man, one of the worst things you could call a person was a LIAR. It was an insult that cut directly to the core, and usually ended up with someone receiving a punch or two. Over the years it became less derisive, bandied about with equivalent terms like “cheater” or “bull shitter”.

You’re a liar. Uttered so matter-of-fact… with so little emotion.

One of the frequent statements I hear and see on social media is, “All of the politicians lie.” This is definitely true. The existence of websites like FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com support that argument, or why would we need them?

liar-liar-pants-on-fire-your-pants-are-actually-on-fire-400x303It became bothersome to me in the primaries, when both Republican and Democratic candidates were wielding the word like a sword. But when the accusation was offered, no proof was required. That’s a lie. All of these wannabe leaders have embraced this willingness for lying by degrees – fibbing, or trying to be honest, or their brilliance of using the lie to make a point. Okay, he’s not the “founder” of ISIS, but you know what I’m saying… wink-wink…”

Seriously?

The statement by Giuliani is just a microcosm of American politics. The Republican side will say that this is a just a sound bite, part of a larger speech where he talked numerous times about 9/11. Or maybe it is a mistake… an error in the math. I’m predicting numerous excuses, and attacks on the media for highlighting this blunder and not focusing on the real problems in the United States.

I’m guilty of this as well. As an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, I have frequently referred to his PolitiFact Scorecard, that currently has a range of 4% “Truth” to 19% “Pants On Fire” (there are four more levels in between, which is hilarious). I’ve touted Hillary Clinton’s scores in comparison (22%, 2% respectively). They are better… but why should any of us settle for anything less than 100% truth? I know some of the subjects are complex, but anything they say is really just true or false, right?

Nope. Clearly, I’m wrong. And it’s not because candidate statements require room for latitude. It’s because we allow it as an electorate. We demand the truth, but along party lines. Red demands the truth from Blue, and vice versa.

In a perfect world, it’s either a lie or it’s the truth. Why do we accept this huge middle ground, instead of giving it a huge middle finger? What if we demanded the truth from both sides, would we get it?

And what if we demanded it from each other? Now I’m wondering about John Langan’s PolitiFact Scorecard…

Damn… That’s too many questions. I’ll shut up now.





Philly Rocks

1 08 2016

philly

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” ~ William Penn (Founder of Philadelphia)

balloonsI saw a great story on the local news. The piece was about the beginning of the massive cleanup following the Democratic convention, held here in Philadelphia last week. An aside in the story was this unnamed worker popping thousands of balloons that had dropped from the ceiling of the Wells Fargo Center just hours before. It was funny, but brought to mind the huge multitude of things that had to be done right to make this event a success in my city.

I remember last year when Pope Francis was climbing the steps of his plane, getting ready to leave after his short visit here. He turned and waved at the top of the steps, then entered the plane. When the door closed I had a good feeling about his time in my city. I also felt a palpable sense of relief… that everyone was safe and that my city represented itself very positively.

Philadelphia has a somewhat not-so-glorious reputation… mostly due to passion for our local sports teams based on decades old stories highlighting the actions of a few assholes. That same percentage of ass-holiness exists in other cities, but the stories seem to linger in the perception of our city. Seriously, if another SportsCenter anchorperson talks about us throwing snowballs as Santa, I may throw a lamp at my TV. (Inner monologue is noting the irony, “Your not making your case, John…”)

LOVEBut Philadelphia was named, founded and designed by William Penn. The name he gave his city combined the Greek words for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos), and gave us this enduring nickname: the City of Brotherly Love. And honestly… I have felt that here my entire life. Yes… we have had our issues: race riots and the MOVE fires, organized crime, etc… but no more than anywhere else in the world.

Last week the media was highlighting more negatives than positives, but that drives their ratings. They also grabbed the cliche stories… Rocky, pretzels and cheesesteaks, or Bill Cosby were shown ad nauseum! Credit was repeatedly given to the convention organizers, the current and former mayor and staffs, and other muckety-mucks. But I took pride in my fellow citizens who welcomed visitors, our shops and fantastic restaurants that served them, and our awesome police force that protected everyone. Just like the Papal visit, I had an overwhelming sense of relief when the DNC ended. I have many friends who are police officers and I was so grateful that they all came home safe, and represented us so well. Even if we don’t agree with the positions of a party, the reasons for a protest, or inflammatory rhetoric… the Philly people who serve will defend those rights and positions, and dedicate themselves to their safety.

All the best of the best… even the balloon buster. It’s in our DNA… the people of Philadelphia embrace the thoughts of brotherly love, liberty and freedom more than any other city.

Because it all started here, bitches! DROPS MIC!

“And I may leave this place tomorrow, but my soul is here to stay. In the town that rocked the nation, Philadelphia, PA!” ~ Beat-up Guitar by The Hooters (Philly’s Own)