The lips move.
The big lie of the week is use of this line from Obama:
Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. (See full context here)
Mitt Romney is, of course, only quoting this part:
If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.
Granted Obama did the same to Mitt Romney with the whole “I like to be able to fire people” comment. And that one was just as bad in my opinion. (And don’t even get me started on the “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose” out of context quote!) So this isn’t specifically a Democrat or Republican thing. Both sides are completely untrust worthy when it comes to getting elected.
Many of you know that I’m very bothered by this sort of lying. It makes me not want to vote for either candidate.
I am as bothered by it as I am when someone that entirely disbelieves all the defining truth claims of the LDS Church intentionally labels themselves as a “Believing Mormon” to other members — knowing that the other member will think it implies belief in the truth claims of the Church — but fails to mention that they personally define that term quite differently than how it is normally used. (i.e. I really meant “I believe the Church is good” or something like that.)
Worse yet, check out this NPR news story which is an interview with Dan Ariely, author of The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone — Especially Ourselves. (See also here.)
His research has found that people in both parties in general have no issues if politicians on “their side” lie so long as it helps with the election and get their politic views implemented.
He found that people were totally comfortable with politicians of their own party being dishonest to get elected.
(On interesting side fact: Democrats are somewhat more in favor of lying than Republicans, though both in general seem okay with lying as a means to the end of getting elected.)
I have never been one of those people that feels lying is always wrong. Obviously lying about having Jews in our attic while in WW II Germany is the moral thing to do. And I can think of a lot of other examples that are a lot less extreme. It’s a complex world and things aren’t always so black and white, I admit.
But I also accept that lying always results in reduced trust, even in the moral cases. Even in WW II Germany, if you lie about having Jews in your attic and they catch you, they aren’t going to trust you any more. (And with good reason.) So all lies come with a cost.
But honestly, right now I feel like puking over the fact that people are so comfortable with lying in politics and that both sides lie so readily. And I feel like campaigning for Obama right now because Romney is so obviously lying here. (Which would only last until the next time Obama lies, which will probably be by tomorrow.)
What are the long term costs of us being so comfortable with politicians lying (at least when they are ‘on our side’)? What type of damage are we doing to our civilization over time? Who loses out? Who will be the unintended victims? I just don’t know. But I suspect it will not be good.