Shouldn’t Dishonesty Have Consequences?
It has always been a case of “Buyer beware” in politics. We all have the responsibility to know who we are voting for and where they stand on important issues. It has never been good enough to take politicians at their word. We must look at their voting record (if one exists), watch who they associate with, and if possible, find out what they say when they think that most would-be voters will never find out. And make no mistake, this is true of politicians whether they are a Democrat, Republican or even Independent.
Sadly, in our modern world, we’ve moved beyond expecting a certain amount of dishonesty from those seeking office to even encouraging it in some cases. One example of the accepted intentional deception is the time-honored art of telling half-truths known as “spin.” (These days we are lucky to get half-truth.) Little more than a marketing ploy, the idea is to focus only on the parts of the topic you want the people you are speaking with to know. If you are for knocking down an old building to make room for a new business, then you are going to talk about how the new business is going to create needed jobs, but you’re not going to mention that small creek on the property that feeds the city parks pond.
If you are against that same building being removed, you are only going to bring up how it’s a historic landmark, but you’re never going to talk about how badly those new jobs are needed. Both points of view are telling their audience part of the truth, but neither side wants you looking at the issue from another perspective, so they don’t bring it up and hope others don’t find out.
Another form of deception nearly demanded in today’s politics, and once again regardless of your political leanings, many people expect bias-confirmation from our media sources and our elected office holders. We demand our elected representatives be paragons of the virtues we want them to express, even if they have to exaggerate for our benefit. We want to hear how our folks are the saving the world and how those “others” are trying to destroy it all. We can hardly blame them for giving us what we want; which is part of why the consequences of dishonesty in politics aren’t as harsh as they once were.
There is yet another form of dishonesty, however, that merges the last two ways that I mentioned and counts on you to be uninformed. To me, this is the worst form because it is an all-out lie. In order to raise funds, fire-up the base, or just get the room excited, the politician in question will tell you something that they know simply isn’t true and count on us not to know any better. In short, they are counting on us to be “dumb enough to fall for it.” They will try to add some spin if there is any truth that can be peppered in for effect. They will tell you what they think we want to hear because they know we are less likely to question the rest of what they have to say, but their goal is to push us to take action, an action for them.
They pander, then they use fear, anger or both over an issue that they know doesn’t exist so that we will answer their rallying cry. Hillary Clinton recently executed the “Can I Make You Fall For It” type of dishonesty. She was speaking to the American Federation of Teachers when she decided to go way over the top over Donald Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Kavanaugh. She started off even-keeled enough for the crowd she was playing to by warning of “devastating consequences” if Kavanaugh is confirmed, but she got caught up in the emotion and took it much further. Clinton said in her speech. “This nomination holds out the threat of devastating consequences for workers’ rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, including those to make our own health decisions.” All of which, while I find these concerns to be unfounded, are legitimate issues for the folks who lean to the left. But then she continued in a way that was meant to anger them further but also required them to know nothing about how our government works. Something that we should expect that she would know better than to think possible after she has been the First Lady, a U.S. Senator, and the Secretary of State. She said, “I used to worry that they [the Republicans] wanted to turn the clock back to the 1950s. Now I worry they want to turn it back to the 1850s.” The 1850s, of course, predate the American Civil War, meaning that Clinton believes that under Kavanaugh it would be possible for the United States to return to the days of slavery.
She told this crowd that a Kavanaugh confirmation would somehow lead to the nullification of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the people of this nation would somehow be okay with the idea of owning another human being. The political left doesn’t like Kavanaugh but where do any of them see a desire in him, or any other conservative justice for that matter, to dismantle the Constitutional ban on slavery? I guess that they don’t, but they sure want their base frightened that those “Mean Ole Republicans” are working hard to make “A Handmaid’s Tale” the new America.
Here are some facts about our federal government, facts that Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton know or at least should know. The Supreme Court is bound by our Constitution just like the other branches. They are not free to re-write it or pick and choose which parts they will follow and which parts they will ignore. Once amendments are added (the 13th for example) it requires yet another amendment to repeal it. That means someone must propose said amendment either by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate or by a Convention of States called for by two-thirds of the state’s legislatures. If this happens, then the proposed amendment is sent to the Governor of each state who in turn submits it to that state’s legislature. Then, if thirty-eight of the fifty states (three-fourths) vote to ratify it, then the proposed amendment becomes part of our Constitution.
Notice that there is no mention of either the President or Supreme Court Justices in the process? This statement about a return to the 1850’s was not an off the cuff remark. It was meant to paint a picture of conservatives pushing women back into the kitchen, LGBTQ folks back into the closet, and black American into bondage. It was meant to get the people in that room fired up about trying to stop Kavanaugh. (It was also meant to show that Hillary is still a viable candidate in the next election cycle for the Democrats but that’s another topic entirely.) It was also one more shot at all those people she called the “Basket of Deplorables” during her last campaign. She knows that there is nothing in Kavanaugh’s record that would hint that he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and certainly nothing to suggest he would like to own another person himself. She also knows that even if the SCOTUS was made up of nine White Supremacist, they wouldn’t have the power to repeal the 13th Amendment. However, she knows that a lot of the people in these rallies don’t know any of that.
There was one more point worth mentioning. I did have a Hillary supporter ask me how I know that she knows all of this. I pointed out to him like I did earlier in this piece that she has been a U.S. Senator and had served as the Secretary of State and she has asked twice to be President. A big part of doing those jobs is, in fact, knowing how our government works. Giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming that she isn’t intentionally dishonest, does her not knowing these things make her more or less qualified?
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