It must be election time. Massive amounts of money are flowing, attacks ads are everywhere, and politicians are working overtime to come up with lies to refute lies they have been caught in.
Take Harold Ford Jr., candidate for U.S. Senator from Tennessee, for instance. CNN has outed him for claiming he was a lawyer, when in fact, he never passed the bar exam.
But as you may expect, Ford claims he never called himself a lawyer.
Well, here is proof that he did here and here.
When politicians lie in this day and age, it's a pretty safe bet someone, somewhere, will have a tape of it and will call them on it, when they try to lie their way out of it.
Campaigns are job interviews. If an applicant were to get caught lying on an application or during an interview, they would not get hired. If they were hired and would get caught later, they would be terminated. (The private sector is funny about those kinds of things.)
But elected officials have always been exempt from that, because the very culture of politicians promotes misrepresentation. If a politician claims they were instrumental in getting some piece of legislation, it may only mean they voted for it. When an allegation initially appears, the spinmeisters work fast and hard to deny it.
Often, if it's a subtle accusation, it will get ignored and sometimes a bigger story will come to provide some relief. But there are many times when this does not happen and the media becomes relentless to pursue it until it must be addressed. That's when the science of lying comes in very handy.
We hear so much about the "culture of corruption" and allow partisans to use that phrase against each other, but we fail to see that this really has become a way of life for almost all politicians and their staffs. Once something is done, so much, without thought or regard for the integrity of the office they occupy, it becomes a pattern. It becomes second nature. Deflect, deny, and dissuade by any means necessary becomes the order of the day and becomes a habit so much, they don't have to even think about it. It becomes natural.
Something we all will not tolerate in our professional and personal lives, we tolerate from those we choose to represent us and lead us. How many pathological liars have you ever known personally? Did you enjoy conversing with them? Did it irritate you that they had the audacity to think you were so stupid that you would believe anything? Did they insult your intelligence?
That's what these damned people we elect are doing. And that's when you can see that this is an artform. They stroke us like we are a painting and we respond, sometimes grudgingly, but we do respond. We pick the lesser of the two evils as we see them, and many fail to realize that the choices are almost always the bottom of the barrel.