It's true, liars don't belong in public office

No doubt liars have served in public office ever since the first candidate printed a handbill and later evolved to taping a radio or TV commercial or clicking on social media. It’s as American as apple pie, and as dishonest as the pie stuffed with applesauce instead of apples.

And if the candidates themselves were too honest to tell a fib, their campaign managers or biographers would step in and put out a lie to make the candidate look better. Even the story about how George Washington, our nation’s first president, had fessed up to cutting down a cherry tree as a youth was made up. One of Washington’s first biographers, a minister no less, but also a bookseller no doubt looking to promote sales, penned the myth.

However, lying about cutting down a cherry tree is nothing compared to the dishonesty that has infected U.S. elections. There are the usual misleading claims, many of them far from the truth, such as candidates who say they will lower gasoline prices, stop inflation, put everyone to work, cure the country of COVID and make the planes run on time all the time.

Political opportunistic lies reached a new low in this past election when a congressional candidate in New York state told voters that he had a degree from a prestigious college (not true); had worked at two big-name Wall Street banks (the banks said he never worked at either); that 9/11 “claimed my mother’s life” (actually, she died five years later); that he was “a proud American Jew” (no, he was raised Catholic, but was appealing to the heavily Jewish congressional district); that his grandparents had fled Ukraine (wrong, it was Belgium, but at least he got the continent right); and that he owned mansions (never).

He also reported dozens of $199.99 campaign expenditures so he could avoid the $200 federal reporting requirement (no receipts to back up his suspicious charges to the campaign).

George Santos was so effective in telling his stories to voters that he flipped the district from Democrat to Republican. Santos, 34, was scheduled to be sworn in as a member of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, dishonesty notwithstanding.

His explanation is wholly inadequate: “I’m not a fraud,” he said in a news interview. “If I disappointed anyone by resume embellishment, I’m sorry.”

That was not good enough for the Republican Party county chairman in the district. “It’s clear that his whole biography is a pack of lies,” Bruce Blakeman told The Wall Street Journal. “Obviously, we’ve all lost confidence in him,” Blakeman said.

“I think humans are flawed, and we all make mistakes,” Santos said in a recent interview with Fox News. “I think we can all look at ourselves in the mirror and admit that once in our life we made a mistake.”

Mistake? Forgetting to tie the leader tight on your fishing line is a mistake. Putting on two mismatched socks is a mistake, even though no one would care. Even running a stop sign is a mistake, hopefully without causing an accident. But lying to voters in the equivalent of a Costco-sized package, that’s much more than a “mistake.”

Santos also has said that while some people may consider lying despicable, it is not a crime.

It may not be a crime, but telling the truth should be a requirement for public office. Santos is unfit to serve. The country has enough dishonest people in elected positions. Why add an award winner?


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/15/2024 01:04