In my previous post, Words Fail Me, I discussed some of the lies that ignorant campaign volunteers and voters smear across the campaign. This time out, I’m going to change direction a bit and discuss those lying politicians, the lies that they tell, and why we get what we deserve with these lying liars.
After stewing over the blatant ignorance of Gayle Quinnell I started thinking about the politicians who can inspire such levels of ignorance. I began to wonder about what remedies there are to protect us, the Joe SixPack American citizens, from the lies of the candidates.
Of course that leads us down a “slippery slope” that culminates in “Quis costodiet ipsos custodes?” Yes, you learn these things when your father is a Latin teacher. For those of you too lazy to click the link, “Quis costodiet ipsos custodes” roughly translates to “who watches the watchmen?” No, not those Watchmen, these Watchmen.
The question in my mind then becomes, if we cannot trust the politicians to tell us the truth – and obviously we cannot – then who can we trust to protect us and provide us with the truth? Obviously it would be futile to ask the government to determine truth for us – that leads simply to George Orwell’s 1984. And in fact, the marvelous system of government that we have produced here in the U.S.A. protects us against that – while producing as a byproduct laws that protect the ability (I refuse to call it a right) of politicians to lie. You don’t believe me on this one? Check here.
That leave just us – you and I, gentle reader – to protect ourselves from lies and ignorance. We have a responsibility and a duty as citizens of a democracy to search out the truth. Trust no one, question everything. Take it as gospel that the politicians will lie to us, the law allows them to. And no, you cannot trust the media to do the legwork for you. Each media source – newspapers, radio, TV, various internet sources, chain e-mails, and letters from “a lady” – all have their own bias.
No, you and I have to do our own research. Some lies – like the infamous “Obama is an Arab” are easy to disprove through the simple application of logic (although it is evident that the application of such logic is beyond the capacity of some). Others will require researching multiple sources to locate the truth. Thankfully we have the internet, if we choose to use it intelligently, which provides us with resources such as FactCheck.org, Snopes, and About.com’s Urban Legends page among others. Of course you still have to be just as vigilant about internet sources – check this out.
We owe it to each other, as fellow citizens of the greatest democracy in history, to search out the truth – and to tell the truth to each other. Only in that way can WE watch the watchmen.