Friday, December 4, 2009

Lying is Fun-Payback is a Bitch

My Inbox is still empty as many of my angry friends try to figure out how to cope with the shocking and disturbing news of the day.

Friday morning the government announced that roughly as many jobs were created last month as were lost. That was a far better result than was anticipated. In addition the unemployment rate dropped instead of going up again as expected.

Many of these friends--who are united in their hatred of the President of the United States--are already reeling from the fact that the stock market has gone up for nine months in a row producing the sharpest rally in our lifetimes.  And now this!

Throughout it all, angry and ominous emails have been arriving almost daily warning that President Obama is ruining the economy and the country with his horrible Obamanomics and terrible policies. These screeds of course have ignored the fact that when Obama took office the economy had already been ruined by his predecessor's policies and that the world was already facing the very real threat of a complete meltdown of the financial system.

They also have repeatedly bemoaned the fact that under Obama our national deficit would grow to more than a trillion dollars a year and our biggest and most irresponsible banks and financial institutions would be bailed out to the tune of trillions more. These expressions of outrage--which continue unabated to this day--also ignore the fact that all of that had already happened during the Bush years as well.

They are like a person who's dying of cancer going to see an oncologist to seek treatment and then blaming the doctor for giving him the disease in the first place. It seems ridiculous but, as we have all learned too well, if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. Lenin said it first, Karl Rove refined it and took it to a new level, and bloggers, emails, and hate-radio and cable jocks have made it their mantra.

Despite this adoption of virtual reality as truth by so many friends, I have continued to cling to the old-fashioned notion that no matter how many people believe a verbal rant or a forwarded email full of falsehoods and distortions, a lie is still a lie. 

Like Bernie Madoff, Tiger Woods, and others, my friends are now finding that when you  build your life on a foundation of falsehoods, you need to tell more and bigger lies just to keep from having to admit you were wrong in the first place.  Eventually the liar has no choice but to admit that everything has been a fraud from the beginning. It can be dangerous. You can end up in jail for the rest of your life or lying in your driveway with a 3-iron lodged in your head.

This harsh reality is now confronting former CNN entertainer Lou Dobbs.  Dobbs decided a couple of years ago that he could develop a huge devoted following among American racists by spending all his time attacking illegal immigrants and essentially blaming all of our nation's real and perceived problems on them.

When that act got a little tired, Dobbs expanded his racist product line and became the poster boy for the Birther movement--those who didn't want to just come out and say that it drove them crazy that Americans wanted a black man as president so they continued to claim that Obama was really born in Kenya and wasn't an American at all.

Now Dobbs has been fired by CNN and wants to seek public office. Not surprisingly, he received moral and financial support from Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC)--arguably our nation's most racist anti-immigrant group. But now, in his effort to become palatable to people outside America's most virulent hateful and lunatic fringe, Dobbs, who is now running for a Senate seat in New Jersey, says he might support just a smidgen of amnesty for some illegals.

Like all liars and those who count on the worst of us for their support, Dobbs has found that if you sleep with enough dogs, eventually you will come away with fleas. His most ardent racist supporters have now called Lou a traitor to the cause and have thrown him under the bus as well. So now Dobbs still has no support from the vast majority of Americans who stopped watching his racist rants years ago and got him fired from CNN and he also has lost his friends on the racist Right. What's a liar to do?

Most of us also get regular emails demonizing Nancy Pelosi from the same Obama haters.  We are repeatedly told that the Speaker is almost as evil as the president himself. They say she wants to tax us all into oblivion and take away our rights.

Of course these tomes ignore the fact that no one's taxes have been raised this year, no one's rights have been taken away, and now Pelosi is opposing the proposal of fellow Democrats who want a temporary War Tax be instituted so we can start paying for the wars we have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last eight years.

I'm still waiting for the emails praising Ms. Pelosi for working to keep our taxes down but my Inbox remains sadly empty.

By the way, the Speaker's decision not to make Americans pay for our wars is wrong and immoral.  As a fiscal conservative, I am a strong believer that we should pay our bills and that we shouldn't make our children and creditors pick up the tab for money that is being spent on our behalf today.  It is also clear that our economy and job picture are still dismal and in the very early stages of recovery.  Huge problems and challenges remain.

But this piece is not about political ideology. It is about the dangers of making a strong case for a position based on lies and distortions. It is sad that so many Americans have resorted to this and it is more outrageous that the news media have been so complicit.  As a result of their lax and often non-existent Balloon Boy style fact-checking, they routinely give a platform to liars in the name of balanced reporting.

If you live long enough, your choices can come back to haunt you. I feel concern for my troubled friends and wonder how they're going to cope. Their choices are limited.  They can kick the can further down the road with more lies and distortions or they can man-up, admit they were wrong all along, and change their ways.  Keep checking your Inbox and your favorite cable channel.  Their answers will show up soon enough.

Life is tough enough for those us who try to tell the truth. I can only imagine how much harder it is for those who don't. I'm trying to feel sorry for them. It's not working yet but I'll keep you posted.