Is it ever acceptable to lie?
By Sparta Live | October 8, 2018 6:12 am
Democratic Dialog – by Debra Wines
According to the Ten Commandments, bearing false witness against your neighbor is wrong. Most of us consider that particular commandment to include lying in general is wrong, and, in some religions, it is considered a sin. Depending on the severity of the lie, it may rank as a minor sin or it could be an “Oh, you’re going straight to hell” sin.
I believe every single human being has lied. It is human nature. You lie to protect yourself. You lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. We’ve all done it, and, if you say you’ve never lied in your life, you are lying. There are varying degrees of lying. As children, we lied to our parents about a myriad of things, whether it was taking the last cookie; saying you finished all your homework; who broke the neighbor’s window with a stray baseball; who you might have been hanging out with because you know your parents didn’t like some of your friends; and when you got older, what you might have been doing when you went out with friends who were on the “approved list.”
As an adult we’ve all lied about something to somebody, whether it was enhancing your resume a bit; trying to sound more interesting to someone who you wanted to impress; your golf or bowling score; or your spouse or friend who asked you if the clothes they were wearing looked good on them. All those lies seem pretty harmless. Then there is the question of exaggerating a story. Is that considered a real lie, or does exaggeration have its own category?
We do know that if you tell a lie to the police or in a court of law, you can find yourself in serious trouble. When you take an oath for a specific job or profession, you are expected to meet the standards required to perform to the best of your ability in that job or profession. If at some point it is shown that you did not honor your oath, you can expect to lose your job and/or be banned from your profession for a specified period of time or forever. Any level of lying, when discovered, will have consequences. The types of consequences will depend of the severity of the lie.
For too many years, we as human beings have accepted a certain level of lying from those in authority. We have chosen to ignore lying from those people for various reasons. In my opinion, we have done this primarily out of apathy. We have slowly accepted the lies of those in power as “normal.” It became expected that politicians would lie to us, especially when they were campaigning for office. We shrugged our shoulders, and most of us voted for the politicians whose “lies” were the most believable.
In the last few years, in my opinion, the Republicans have taken the level of their lies to new heights. With 24/7 news programs, social media, and Google and other websites, we have the ability to fact-check the claims made by politicians, especially those running for re-election. We can check their voting records. We can find recordings of them saying one thing months and years ago and compare that to what they are saying now. We have to ability to know who is more honest and who is being hypocritical with their lies. We can quickly determine who told us one thing and then did the complete opposite. Sometimes it feels as if we have too many resources to check and verify statements from our elected politicians, and it can be overwhelming.
I think we all understand legislators can change their minds on issues. We realize that some legislative bills they promise to support can be changed with addendums that may change the original purpose of a particular bill, and, therefore, the legislator may feel they must vote against a bill because it fails to meet the original intent of the legislation. Under those circumstances, it is the responsibility of those who are representing us to inform us why they did or did not support a certain bill. Unfortunately, not every legislator does that. They seem to feel that it’s not necessary to convey that information to their constituents, and, to me, that feels like a lie. Withholding pertinent information, in my opinion, is a lie of omission and not acceptable.
Campaigns seem to get more deceptive and bolder with lies often repeated in various media forms against one’s opponent. Mudslinging and smear campaigns have been a part of America’s politics pretty much since our country was formed. This is not unique to American politics. I don’t really care what other countries do in their elections, but I do care what happens in American politics because I am an American. I care about the level of lies that come out of the White House, Trump’s administration, and the politicians that are currently running for office. It seems to me the level of lies and viciousness has taken a very frightening turn into a cesspool, and we may never be able to climb out of it.
By the time this column is printed, we may or may not have Brett Kavanaugh as the newest Supreme Court justice. I honestly did not like his responses to many of the questions asked of him about several constitutional issues. I do have a major problem with the amount of what some might call “little lies” he has told the Senate Judiciary Committee while he was under oath and required to tell the whole truth. I understand his anger regarding Dr. Ford’s accusation. I did not find his behavior and temperament during his testimony on Thursday, Sept. 27th, appropriate for anyone applying for a job on the Supreme Court. Most of all, I find his ability to lie with such ease is a perfect example of how far we have gone in accepting lies from people in authority as acceptable and normal.