Proof that truth and politics can be mixed

More proof that you can't believe what you hear. Or - you can't believe what you heard. Or - you can't believe what you heard before.

Let me return to the beginning. If there is one thing that I have held as a constant it is that politicians are irrepressible, irredeemable and irresponsible liars. How do I know this, you ask? Silly rabbit: every US President in my lifetime - from "I am not a crook" to "tried to purchase uranium from Africa" has lied to me, lied to you and lied to the world. It has gotten to the point that reporters no longer even appear to seek the truth; instead of asking questions to get to an answer, reporters prefer to just run down a list of predefined questions, seemingly oblivious to the obvious falsehoods, untruths and outright, baldfaced lies they have been presented by the interviewee.

Seriously, I do not get that.

Still, a generation of expectation setting has shown me that politicians are dyed-in-the-wool liars - only their mothers know if they are born liars - and there has been nary a hint that this process would not continue ad nauseum, henceforth and now and forevermore.

Until now.

With these words, Barack Obama has tossed down the gauntlet before all of the other candidates:

"So there is a choice that has emerged in this campaign, one that the American people need to understand. They should ask themselves: who got the single most important foreign policy decision since the end of the Cold War right, and who got it wrong. This is not just a matter of debating the past. It's about who has the best judgment to make the critical decisions of the future. Because you might think that Washington would learn from Iraq. But we've seen in this campaign just how bent out of shape Washington gets when you challenge its assumptions."

Not only has Barack just given every voter a simple decision tree for making when they enter the voting booth during primary season next year, but he has laid bare the truth that it is not just the emperor who has no clothes - it is the entire royal court!

The most basic fact by which we all live our lives is this: learn from your mistakes. It's how we learn to stand up by falling down, how we learn to walk upright by crawling on our knees, how we learn to balance a bicycle by unceremoniously getting tossed to the ground.

Trial and error: the world's most basic learning process and the methodology upon which all of our achievements are based.

And yet Washington, DC does not run on this process.

Mistakes are the one constant of our national politics and yet - where is the learning? Where is the simple recognition that touching the stove when it is hot hurts?

We as a people are being led by the worst among us: those too proud or too stupid to recognize that the eventuality of error is not just a probability but a given. And when you add that together with the highest stakes possible, the compounding of error can lead no where but to the edge of a precipice.

So there it is: Barack has told you what no other politician has or is or will say - the truth. With this, we now have a yardstick by which to measure him. The only question is - will you pick up the yardstick?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although I agree with you that politicians are irrepressible, irredeemable and irresponsible liars. I don't believe they all start out that way. Once they get elected, the pull of the "machine" is just too great. They become greedy, self righteous charicatures. I want to believe with everything I am that we are ready for what Mr. Obama has to offer. But I fear the machine is just too great. Too many people are stuck in the matrix. I'm gonna keep hope alive. Cross my fingers and my toes and hope enough of us are ready to pick up the yardstick. Thanks for your words. - Craig