Saturday, October 2, 2010

Promises & Lies

For as long as I can remember there have been three great promises: - I promise to respect you in the morning. - I promise to love you forever. - I promise you that the check is in the mail. Likewise, there were two great lies: - It's not my fault, someone else must have done it. - I'm from the government and I'm here to help. (taken from a great Ronald Reagan quote) There is rumored to be a third lie currently in committee (sought to balance the great scales of the universe no doubt): "No dear, that outfit doesn't make you look fat." But my understanding is that the committee in charge of such things holds its meetings only infrequently, often does so in secret, and in most cases can come to no meaningful conclusion on their responsibilities (you know, like Congress)

Which leads us to the subject at hand. For those of you who have somehow managed to keep yourself from a newspaper (an ever-increasing number, apparently), the television, or the internet (in which case you wouldn't be reading this) we have entered one of the most offensive seasons of the year. 

No, I'm talking about fall with all of its cool breezes and bright colors. Nor am I speaking of one of the various hunting seasons that many animal rights activists seem to object to (my personal favorite is tourist season, though I have failed to bag one so far this year). I'm talking instead about campaign season. Now many might find this a surprise, since these days I find myself oftentimes writing about politics and political thought (subjects that often seem incompatible). In the spirit of full disclosure in fact, I must admit that such activity does provide a target-rich environment for someone with irony and sarcasm in their toolbox and the ability to string a couple of words together within their grasp. 

The problem however is that during campaign season, the concept of thought of any kind on the part of both the electable and the electorate seems difficult to discover; as are honesty, common sense, and good taste. We not only expect, but seemingly encourage those running for elected office to abandon logic, decorum, and common decency in their single-minded pursuit of public service. We stand by idly while the candidates 'take the gloves off' and manipulate the facts in ways that even a pretzel has never been twisted in their efforts. Even when such pronouncements rise beyond the level of libel, the messages delivered by these 'servants of the people' wanna-be's rarely rises beyond the level of "half-truths, mis-truths, and outright lies". (Quoted from the collected sayings of 'he who must not be named' in Toledo) 

To say that most of what many of those running for office (especially those members of the professional political class) say are deceptions actually does a disservice to the practice of what Mark Twain called telling whoppers. To say that such creative telling of the truth are little more than aspersion, calumny, invention, prevarication, evasion, distortion, subterfuge, slander (though not always in the legal sense), deceit, and backbiting is simply to use fine words (actually damn fine words, if I do say so myself) to describe an abominable and all too common practice in politics that does not deserve such treatment. 

As for promises, seldom if ever was a maiden wooed with such ardor and assurances as candidates give to the electorate during these calculated campaigns (and some would suggest that they do so with the same ultimate goal in mind). The lover might be forgiven their foibles in such amorous pursuits however, for at least in such an undertaking, polling data is not used to outline the most favorable strategy of guarantees to make to the prospective paramour.  

History is filled with the tradition of such vows, and their long use in politics down the ages are scattered lights illuminating a path that is both long and illustrious. Today's efforts often do little more in fact than remind us that human nature has changed little over the centuries, and that the promise of "bread and circuses" for the populace holds as much attraction today as it did during the Roman Empire (though it probably should be pointed out that such promises certainly contributed to this empire's fall)

"Say anything," or so the saying goes. We are promised during these campaigns a cornucopia that includes the free lunch of health care, jobs created by the government (working for the government, apparently), and an economy that will once again become robust; if only we will put John or Jane in office. 

Once there however, far too many will take the Roman example to heart, playing the role of Nero and fiddling while Rome burns; but by then they will be safely ensconced in a well-paying system which provides numerous and generous protections for those already in power. Nor do voters seem affected by previous promises that have been made and broken, the unlikely odds of those currently being voiced being kept, or the unintended consequences probable to everyone if they were in fact to be realized. 

It appears to be sufficient to the day that the candidate 'cares' enough simply to make such promises. It likewise appears that in fact while we used to believe that "all is fair in love and war", we should be prepared in fact to add politics to the categories in which "the ends justify the means". It also seems that for at least another another five weeks, we must put up with an endless barrage of Promises and Lies from many if not most of those seeking to become public servants.


Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Yet again you have scored a dead center bull's eye on this season's infestation of politicos and their pap.

What galls me the most however (at least back here in Toledo) is the elevation of a certain "retired" public servant (I'll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a roof job today) now passing herself off and being marketed as a political "analist," (this abnormal spelling is the correct one) for the show's purpose.

Time after time, she blatantly spouts the party line, (and talks or sings, and badly at that) over other more qualified political pundits) despite all evidence that the real truth is in the other direction.

I fault the TV station and the show's host for giving her the lofty title when, in fact, the title of "political hack extraordinaire" seems to be much closer to the truth.

But then, in politics, this kind of "stuff" is what usually passes for the truth around these parts, regardless of what season it is. . .

Roland Hansen said...

Amigos Tim and Dave,

I promise you I have not lied.

Now that we have that on record, in my campaign for election to whatever office of which I can make a career,
I promise you more jobs, less taxes, and better schools.

That should do the trick!

Sandy Isenberg would be so proud! That *&%#$@! I refuse to watch the Toledo television "program" 'Conklin & Company' because of that *&%#$@! Oh, come to think of it, I do believe I covered that over on my Roland Hansen Commentary blog.