BY SHARON MARTIN
About a month ago, Newt Gingrich told the truth. Now, there may have been some other issues nipping at the heels of his campaign, but it was his truth-telling about Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s attempt to privatize Medicare that got Newt in trouble with the party and the press.
Bill Clinton and George W. Bush lied, the former about sex, the latter about the reason we declared war. As for the cherry tree, I’m not sure who lied about that.
There’s an old joke that asks, “How can you tell if a politician’s lying?”
The punch line: “His mouth is moving.”
We should hold our leaders to the truth. Public servants, from the road crews to the president, are in our employ. They serve us. If you ran a business, would you tolerate an employee who skimmed money from the cash register? With their lies and underhanded deals, that’s what the politicians are doing to us.
Recently, Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn told the truth. He said that the American people can’t afford to bankroll the ethanol industry. Cheap corn used for purposes other than food has driven up the cost of food worldwide. And he told another truth: we can’t balance the budget without addressing both spending and revenue. How many of his constituents heard him? When will he be skewered by the press?
Thirty-second ads and one-liners taken out of context make it difficult for any person aspiring to political office to tell the truth. Wherever they are speaking and whatever they are speaking about, politicians must measure every word. They know that someone in a spin room somewhere is taking a ruler and calculator to whatever they say. Politicians’ words will be taken apart and rebuilt so their opponents can make a point…or score some.
It’s death for a politician to truly answer a question. Someone, somewhere will use the words against him or her. How can we reclaim the truth?
Maybe we should listen to the speech, the whole speech, and nothing but the speech when a politician addresses a citizen or a crowd. Maybe we should ignore the people who make a lot of money trying to convince us as to what the speech means. We can derive our own meaning. We can think for ourselves. If reporters just report, we can come to our own conclusions. Then we will know that our opinion is our own, not one crafted for us.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer