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.