When is a broken promise a lie? It’s as old as the Dominion and as Canadian as hockey. We all know it. We all mention it at least once in our lives. Politicians lie.It’s the truth. The reason for that is that they’re human. And all humans lie. So, let’s just get that out there.
You don’t grow up a decent person and then suddenly decide to go into a career in politics and wake up the next morning a fully hatched liar. In fact, I would wager that between public attention, a written record of almost everything they utter and a fear for their political lives, politicians lie less than the average bear.
I read on a social media site today that “every word that comes out of Justin Trudeau’s mouth is a lie”. Which is simply a ridiculous thing to say, of course. Without saying one way or the other whether he lies or does not, saying that everything he says is a lie is simply ridiculous. This is how things fall to hell, people. You repeat that enough times and you read it repeated back to you enough times and you come to actually believe it – even though your rational self can likely be convinced that it is really not possible that everything he says is a lie.
So when a guy like Trump comes along and very nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is actually a lie, people aren’t shocked or enraged or even bothered by it enough to stop supporting him. In fact, because he lies so pathologically and so blithely, they believe he is “telling it like it is” and that his incoherent babbling is “refreshing”. It’s truthspeak. He says it, so it’s true. It’s a completely new form of brainwashing by absurdity.
As Trevor Noah said on his show a few weeks ago, “You can’t make this shit up.”
Trump fans take that literally.
A woman on social media remarked, early in February that “At least Trump’s lies are transparent. He’s honest about them.”
Yes, I was as shocked to read that then as I am to write it today.
“A little respect for the office wouldn’t go amiss,” she added in a later response. It took me about 30 seconds to go from “Good, she’s finally getting it!” to “Oh my gawd, she means me!” It was one of those moments that you really do shake your head at your computer screen and get up to stretch your legs.
Oh yes, those pesky politicians definitely do lie. But probably less than the rest of the population, taken as a whole. At worst, no more.
There’s your basic evil lie. A lie told to deliberately deceive so that you can gain something – even if it means the persons being lied to will suffer. This is the one, not surprisingly, that politicians tell least and yet which people want to believe they tell the most often.