Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lie Fatigue, and the Threat to Democracy it Poses

OK folks, I am worn out trying to keep up with all the lies coming form the McCain/Palin campaign, and I'm not going to turn this into the Lying Republicans Blog. So, let's get all the new evidence of the lies out of the way:

Here's Palin praising earmarks when she ran for governor, proving she's lying when she says she opposed earmarks.

Here they are lying about Obama's support for teaching kindergartners how to recognize inappropriate touching and sexual advances.

Here's a nice summary of the lies, including Palin hiring lobbyists to get all the earmarks she could for her town, supporting the bridge to nowhere, and never having issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard.

Why do we all obsess over lying so? Because democracy depends on voters being informed on the issues, and on what the politicians plan to do about them. Without knowledge of that, we cannot make informed choices. Politicians that lie to us about their record, and their plans, short-circuit the process. Hilzoy put it best:

"When politicians lie -- and here I mean not just putting the best spin on things, but out and out lying -- they might as well walk up to each and every one of us and say: Hello! I have no respect for the value of your time! ... I'm going to put you in a position where you're going to have to research everything I say, or else just give up on your civic duty. You don't get to assume that my words are, if not exactly true, at least somewhere in the general vicinity of the truth, and decide whether or not to vote for me. If you want to be an informed citizen, you'll have to become obsessive, like hilzoy.

They might as well add: I have no respect for democracy. In a democracy, citizens listen to what each side has to say and decide who to vote for. To work, it requires that what each side says bears some resemblance to the truth. If I cared about democracy, I'd respect those limits -- maybe stretching the truth every now and then, but generally maintaining some sort of relationship between what I say and reality. But guess what? I don't care about democracy! If winning requires that I make things up out of whole cloth and hope that I'm successful enough to frustrate the popular will, then that's what I'll do. Don't like it? Think democracy is a good system, one that we should cherish? That's just too bad.

But Palin has gone beyond this. She is not just telling lies; she's telling lies that have been exposed as lies, and that have gotten a lot of attention. Assuming she does not actually want to lose, she must assume that her audience either doesn't know that she's lying, or doesn't care. In either case, it's deeply cynical, and deeply insulting."

And looking at the latest electoral projections, which have McCain ahead in most of them for the first time, it looks like she's right. The Founding Fathers are no doubt turning over in their graves.

1 comment:

Ronnie said...

Great post - THAT woman is a Stepford politician, the perfect Republican woman - one who will repeat men's lies because that is what her "role" is. Her mind has been usurped by her own wonderfulness. If she had any sense, she would be able to admit she's over her head and gracefully step away. Guess that spotlight is a little too attractive to let reality interfere.