The tarnished truth
Enter: The age of post-truth politics
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 13:09
The Republican Party has thrown down the gauntlet in a dramatic fashion, casting off the burdens of moral value and precedent on their ruthless route to the White House. They unveiled their grand scheme for poisoning the minds of the American people two weeks ago during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. With one unprecedented flourish, they dropped all semblances of integrity and respect in their campaign, turning to a strategy of downright and unabashed lying.
My father is a lover of western fiction. His collection of Louis L’Amour is so extensive, it would take years to read them all. I started eating my own way through his collection, book by book, at a young age. Though the stories are different and the places unique and fantastic, I began to notice that the main characters all began to seem the same – even those who had a bad streak in them.
They were all honest men; men that could be taken at their word, and nobody doubted them. They may have been rough, callous, crude, even mean, but honesty was a virtue that no good man went without in the American West. And those that forsook honesty? They didn’t live long.
What has happened to that age? An age when honesty was the status quo, when liars were ostracized and cast down? In what is one of the most pivotal presidential elections of our lifetimes, for many of us, the first election we will be able to vote in – one candidate is basing his entire election run upon nothing but fabrications and deceit.
That’s not to say lying is something new in politics. We all know politicians to be dishonest, to some degree. They fabricate the facts, fudge the numbers and gloss over the negatives. Yet when they are caught, they nearly always have a response, be it denial, apology or a passing of the blame. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have gone beyond any model of dishonesty.
They are not only fabricating, fudging and glossing. They have completely turned facts on their heads, taken words out of context and pushed horrid, demeaning jokes on their opponent like a pair of high school bullies. And when the media called them out on it, like the principal summoning them to his office, they have shown no remorse. “Yep, that’s what we said. We lied. What about it?” is their response.
Is that what this election has come to? What our once-vaunted democracy has come to? Now, more than ever, our voters must educate themselves. We must do our research and seek out the facts that lie behind the issues in this election. We must separate lies from the truth, and so choose for our country a leader that does not lie to the American people, one that, instead of deceiving, leads with the integrity and honesty befitting of an American president.
Nathan is a senior majoring in landscape architecture. Follow him on twitter @nwstottler.