What’s happened to the word “lying,” anyhow? Nobody tells a lie any more.
“Deciding to ignore the facts,” “not fact-checking,” “stretching the truth,” “not telling the entire truth,” — in covering speeches by Romney, Ryan, and all the leading Republican spokesmen, the media have a hundred ways of saying that they lied without saying so.
Even Politifact, when proving an outright, deliberate falsification, doesn’t use the word “lie.” They call it “Pants on Fire.” Isn’t that cute, now.
Today, the day after the Republican convention, was the first time I’ve seen an editorial or op-ed piece use the word “lie.” Kind of a landmark? In describing Paul Ryan’s speech, Paul Krugman in fact used the phrase “the big lie,” with umistakable reference to Adolf Hitler’s favorite stratagem.
Calling lies by name won’t affect the Republicans. Some of them are so far out of touch with reality that they wouldn’t know a fact if it bit them, and the rest have desperately adopted disinformation and falsification as their road to election. The Republican politician and voter must “believe in belief” and then turn his mind off. The big lie is their policy, and it has become compulsory. It won’t change now.
But I wonder if calling lies lies might get through to Obama and his advisors and spokespeople? Stupidly, instead of revealing falsehood by steadfastly speaking truth, they’ve been imitating the enemy. Increasingly often their statements “ignore the facts,” “stretch the truth,” and all the rest of the euphemisms. Every time the Democrats lie, they lose that much advantage over their shape-shifting, blame-dodging opponents.
By ceasing to weasel, waffle, shove things under the carpet, exaggerate successes, and evade problems, Obama could show his genuine personal strength. If, without lecturing and shaking his finger at us, he would tell us only the truth as he knows it, we-the-people might rise to that challenge as we rose to the challenge he offered in his first campaign — with enthusiasm, with hope.
“Speak truth to power” is a popular slogan these days. In a democracy, what about the responsibility of power to speak truth?
3 September 2012