So here’s a shocker: Politicians sometimes tell lies! OK, so perhaps no American would be surprised by this statement. In fact, we reward candidates handsomely for outright deceit. However, our sense of balance seems to be off. Around a decade ago, we impeached a President for lying about his private life. Today, we won’t even press the Commander in Chief of one of the largest militaries in the world to even answer questions about leading us into a manufactured and self-serving war. The list seems endless, and Americans are getting no better at asking for truth and accountability.
A case in point is John McCain. While there’s plenty to dislike about his decisions and checkered past, recent ads seem to have crossed some kind of line. A New York Times Editorial titled Blizzard of lies attempts to look at the the most recent issues:
Did you hear about how Barack Obama wants to have sex education in kindergarten, and called Sarah Palin a pig? Did you hear about how Ms. Palin told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks” when it wanted to buy Alaska a Bridge to Nowhere?
These stories have two things in common: they’re all claims recently made by the McCain campaign — and they’re all out-and-out lies.
Dishonesty is nothing new in politics. I spent much of 2000 — my first year at The Times — trying to alert readers to the blatant dishonesty of the Bush campaign’s claims about taxes, spending and Social Security.
But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.
To be fair, there are some people that try to call politicians out on outright fabrications of the truth. This article is one example, as is one from The Huffington Post about John McCain on The View. While mainstream media continues to overlook real issues and to hold candidates accountable, it seems within reason to expect Americans to wake up, start thinking, and to stop rewarding lies.