Taken to cleaners, and we didn’t notice
by Melvyn L Fein
August 19, 2013 12:16 AM | 918 views | 3 3 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In his recent book “This Town,” Mark Leibovich reports on the behind the scenes doings in Washington, D.C. Thus he describes a party put on by the New Yorker magazine in which drinks were served accompanied by napkins embossed with politically oriented cartoons.

One of these napkins depicted a “sinner” pleading with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. The reprobate says, “Wait, those weren’t lies. That was spin.”

The joke is that those were lies, but those telling them did not consider them such. Although they knew full well they were spreading untruths in order to influence others, they perceived this as their job. These fabrications were deemed legitimate because they were part of the political “game.”

Leibovich makes it perfectly plain that for Washington insiders what matters most is getting a leg up on the competition. The objective is to improve one’s status so that eventually one can cash in on the money machine our nation’s capital has become.

The players evidently also love power, and attention, and fawn all over each other in order to get it. They will therefore play the sycophant, and the lifelong buddy, then stab each other in the back for an ephemeral advantage. What is more, many enjoy what they regard as an indoor sport.

In short, if but a quarter of what Leibovich writes is true, it is eloquent testimony as to why the federal establishment deserves to be cut back. No doubt many of the people who gravitate toward government service begin with noble intentions, but it is also quite clear that many who stay to ride the gravy train have been thoroughly corrupted.

Specifically, this business of people casually accepting deceit as a tool of the trade rankles some of us who still believe honesty is a virtue. Perhaps we are quaint relics of a bygone era, but winking, nodding and revering those who tell the glossiest whoppers strikes us as immoral.

The biggest problem, however, is that this dishonesty bug seems to have infected the nation at large. Not just a handful of politicians, lobbyists and reporters cooped up in what literally used to be a vile swamp on the Potomac have been laid low by this malady.

Consider some of the lies Americans have been told only to have a majority shrug their shoulders, then reward the dissembler. Thus, weren’t people warned that our president was being dishonest when he promised they could keep their medical insurance after Obamacare went into effect?

Weren’t voters likewise told their premiums would rise, not fall, despite projections to the contrary? Didn’t it sink in it when cautioned they would lose their doctors and/or be subject to “death panels”? Now all this is coming true and demonstrating the voters were deceived. Nevertheless, there is no wave of revulsion sweeping the land.

So numbed have people become to being manipulated, many don’t even notice they have been taken to the cleaners. So egregious is their acceptance of deceit that when Obama and his minions called the IRS scandal phony just weeks after condemning it as disgraceful, they continued to tell pollsters how much they like the president.

Yet this isn’t a game! It shouldn’t be one in the nation’s capital and even less on the nation’s main streets. We are told that people are not paying attention and therefore do not realize they have been deceived. Still, it is their pockets that are being fleeced, their health that is being put in jeopardy and their freedoms that are being compromised.

The truth is that liars are thieves! Liars are also tyrants! They rob us of our souls and our happiness, even as we grin uncomprehendingly at their shenanigans.

So where is the outrage? Why haven’t we thrown the rascals out and demanded that their mischief be undone? Or do we too actually believe this is all merely fun and games: a playground for the Anthony Weiners of the world, if you will.

Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.



Comments
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Paulette Pemberbrook
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August 20, 2013
Come on, Mel. You know that as long as one person believes what they say it is no longer a lie! They give people "Hope and Change", right?
Harry Hagan
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August 19, 2013
Great column, Sir. Very well put indeed. "Where is the outrage,?" you ask. This administration is lawlessly evil and bereft of any vestiges of morality. Morality, whether anyone likes it or not, comes only from religion. We as a nation have turned away from the Holy Trinity, our guiding light and moral center from our inception. Traces of that Biblical moral force remained for a while, but they were not strong enough to withstand the assault from a Godless Left and their media--news and entertainment--plus the Academy and monetary system. The Left have now overtly cast God aside.

That leaves nothing at all but a dark void as a moral compass. Every single day the Left posits some new outrage upon the People. They have ridden the People of their religion, and now have shredded the Law itself--our Constitution. If there is no Law, there is no civilization; at least not as our beloved Founders saw it. The People are jaded with their Bread and Circuses, their "devices." We are now embedded in a new "Dark Age." Our Founders charged us with the responsibility of being diligent and vigilant. We failed. Our evil and wicked leaders have triumphed. Some would say Satan has won. I wouldn't quibble with that assessment.
East Cobb Senior
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August 19, 2013
Traditional morality and our understanding of right and wrong have been corrupted by “Political Correctness” and a Washington, DC culture that worships at the altar of “the end justifies the means”. Politicians at all levels of government have learned and perfected the art of “spin”, “obfuscation”, “double speak” and out right lying. It’s whatever it takes to win that rules their day.

Because most Americans are basically good and have virtue, they still believe in truthfulness and honesty and generally accept at face value that which they are told and read. Politicians of all stripes understand and recognize this and have exploited the goodness and virtue of the non-political class for decades. It used to be a truism that “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. No longer is that the case, politicians have become so adept at lying and spinning that people fail to realize they are being played for a fool. Barak Hussein Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, just to name a few, being re-elected, I rest my case.

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