fallout from the reality-obliterating experience of
Trump will haunt us long after his departure from office. His ignorance, his amorality,
his perversely mean-spirited assaults, his race-baiting, his lack of
compassion, his greed, his illiterateness and his unbridled impulsivity will hopefully
over time become simply bad memories, much like recalling a bad stomach virus
yet feeling relief that is has passed. But there is one cancerous consequence
of the Trump experience that may not be extinguished by the passage of time. The
release of the redacted Mueller report makes a patently obvious fact
even more glaring. The normative ethic of “truth” is under intense
attack and giving way fast. Our intrinsic value around the construct of truth
may be irrevocably shattered.
Politicians and elected officials have invariably dodged or obscured the truth as they have prevaricated on their way to achieving their goals. But when one was caught red handed in a bald-faced lie there was a consequence, a price to pay. Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. Wars have started over lies, our government has deposed and installed foreign leaders and suppressed inconvenient truths in the process. The gray area what was true was often blurred by the perpetrators and their spin. The dance with truth is as old as human existence. Yet now the truth appears perhaps irrelevant.
TRepublican members of Congress, save Mitt Romney, suggest Trump’s lies are no big deal and it’s time to move on. If there is no , now appears to be anachronistic and may cease to remain a standard of behavior.
The floodgates open
Thus far there have been no discernible consequences to Trump’s lies. He lies in any moment he chooses, only to deny what he has just said, notwithstanding that it has been recorded. It matters to tens of millions of Americans. Trump’s flagrant mendacity opens the floodgate for others to also see the truth as naïvely unnecessary . Mueller’s report now proves what most of us intuitively knew; Sarah Huckabee Sanders creates her own facts from the podium of the White House Press Conference. NowWilliam Barrlies about conclusions of the special counsel’s report. Although some politely suggests he misled, he indeed blatantly lied. Barr said “President took no act that in fact deprived the Special Counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation,” implying Trump’s full cooperation. Yet
, the report states that the president ordered his attorney to fire the Special Counsel, and then to lie about it. In fact, Barr’s lies are too numerous to recite here, but they are the proverbial canary in the . Has Barr been so emboldened by the brazenness of his boss’s lies that he feels he too was insulated from consequence? Yes, the floodgates do appear wide open.
As our elected officials
–many of have demonstrated a resounding lack of principles to begin with – see the President and his brethren escape penalty they too are likely to rush headstrong into this b quagmire. This avalanche has already been unleashed. So , what can we do about it? How do we reestablish the necessity of honesty in our political arena and uphold the moral tenor of verity as a society?
I swear to tell the truth
We can start hereSimply swearing to serve and protect the Constitution, as we have seen, is far too vague and leaves the door wide open to lying. Every elected official as they are sworn into office must raise their hand as if they were in a courtroom under oath and swear to tell the truth. If one perjures his or herself in a judicial chamber they risk significant penalty. Yet our politicians, judges and presidents can lie at will as long as they are not providing testimony under oath. This must stop.
The way to hold our politicians accountable and to repair the core value of honesty in our society is to require them to not knowingly lie. For the entirety of their term of office they must be effectively under oath. Anything less leaves us the fools. What kind of insanity is it to spend countless billions of dollars to elect individuals to represent us who at the same time are free to lie to us?